On Thursday, June 30, Felicia Sparks, a resident of Gardena and the Manager of the Food 4 Less store at 1820 West Slauson Avenue in the South Los Angeles community of Chesterfield Park was honored with the 2016 Food 4 Less/Kroger Community Service Award. Sparks, a 20-year Food 4 Less associate, earned the prestigious award in recognition of her work with the charitable organization, DIVAS With a Purpose, which she founded to improve the lives of South Los Angeles residents.
Food 4 Less’ parent company, The Kroger Co., established the Community Service Award in 2004 to honor its associates for outstanding community service in each of its supermarket operating divisions throughout the country.
A $500 check was presented to her charity of choice – DIVAS With a Purpose. Sparks formed DIVAS With a Purpose in 2014 following a lengthy battle with colon cancer.
“I made a promise to God that if He let me survive cancer, I would honor Him by working to improve the lives of others,” she said. “I’ve tried to keep that promise through the DIVAS.”
The mission of the DIVAS, which stands for Devine, Intelligent, Vibrant, Ambitious, Self-reliant women, is to “change lives one at a time,” says Felicia.
Under Sparks’ leadership and with her focus on keeping her promise to help others, the DIVAS have formed partnerships with area police and fire stations on programs that help at-risk youth; they work with churches to bring food to the hungry; they help fund after-school tutoring and mentoring programs; and they visit nursing homes and convalescent hospitals where they bring gifts, flowers and play bingo and other games with the elderly.
In August, the DIVAS will be distributing backpacks filled with school supplies to 200 needy elementary school students. The organization will also be holding a community fashion show fundraiser at the Church of Scientology Community Center in Inglewood on July 31.
“We’re a small organization, just seven very committed women, but we’re out in the community almost every week working with the police, fire department, churches and schools helping the needy and at-risk in our community,” Sparks said.
Food 4 Less President Bryan Kaltenbach congratulated Sparks on her selection as Food 4 Less’ 2016 Community Service Award winner.
“We are extremely proud of Felicia,” said Kaltenbach. “The way she has triumphed over cancer and has made a commitment to help others is inspiring. We are delighted to have Felicia on our team at Food 4 Less. She is truly making a difference at Food 4 Less and in her community. Felicia is well deserving of our Community Service Award.”
Sparks was selected from several dozen community-minded Food 4 Less associates who were nominated for this year’s Community Service Award.
Sparks began her Food 4 Less career as a part-time Customer 1st Clerk in 1996. She was promoted to Store Manager last year. She is married with one daughter.
Food 4 Less has a long-standing commitment to community involvement. Last year, Food 4 Less contributed more than $4 million to support education, hunger relief, women’s health and local nonprofit organizations in the communities served by the company’s stores. Foods 4 Less associates are also encouraged to be active, responsible members of their communities. The company’s emphasis on giving back to the community is stronger than ever as attested to by the outstanding community service activities of this year’s Food 4 Less/Kroger Community Service Award recipient.