Julian Branch understands the day-to-day struggles that come with being homeless. The U.S. Army veteran lived on the streets, and he remembers wondering where his next meal would come from. That’s why Julian has made it a priority to help those in need after joining SONIC as a catering specialist in 2015.
The SONIC Café, SONIC’s team member café in Inspire’s Oklahoma City Support Center, had a donation initiative to feed the homeless. Julian quickly became the driving force behind the program.
Thanks to Julian’s efforts, SONIC has donated more than 40,000 pounds of food to a local homeless shelter over the last four years.
“Julian’s commitment to giving back to the community is unwavering. He has taken our food donation efforts to feed the homeless to another level,” said Eddie Hartwick, Corporate Executive Chef of SONIC Café.
While Julian works primarily in the Café and on the catering team, he’s also in charge of bringing food donations from SONIC’s Culinary Innovation Center to the Jesus House. These efforts hit especially close to Julian, having spent time at the inner-city shelter himself.
“In the past, SONIC would donate food periodically. So, when I started working at the Support Center, I volunteered to take it once every week or as soon as a delivery would be ready,” Julian said. “I know how difficult it is when you’re homeless and trying to start over. Having a meal can make all the difference.”
Working for SONIC has been life changing for Julian. He attributes his health and happiness to the steady support he’s received working alongside his culinary team members. And, being in a position to give back and help hundreds in a state whose population is among our nation’s most food insecure makes it all the more satisfying.
“Coming to work at SONIC has been a fresh start for me. I’ve worked beside so many inspirational people and to see the impact they’ve made on everyone they interact with is just amazing,” Julian said. “I hope my story can motivate others to give back and encourage them to take the first step to help someone else in need.”