WASHINGTON—AARP and AARP Foundation celebrated the finish of Drive to End Hunger’s third season in NASCAR by thanking Jeff Gordon, the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS team, as well as the people and corporate donors that contributed to the year’s success.
“AARP Foundation is grateful for the outpouring of support from NASCAR fans and committed corporate sponsors to help the nearly nine million older Americans who face the threat of hunger,” said AARP Foundation president Lisa Marsh Ryerson. “We never cease to be amazed by the compassion and commitment of people who give of their time, talents and money to help others in communities all across the country.”
AARP and AARP Foundation created Drive to End Hunger in 2010 to raise awareness about the problem of hunger among struggling Americans 50+ and to develop long-term, sustainable solutions to the problem. Drive to End Hunger became NASCAR’s first cause-based primary sponsorship with four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Gordon driving the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. The effort raises the visibility of hunger while collecting cash and food donations in NASCAR race markets across the country.
Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger, the initiative has donated nearly 29 million meals, and driven institutional and individual donor commitments with an expected value of nearly $21 million. Based largely on the initiative’s NASCAR program and with Gordon as its spokesperson, Drive to End Hunger has worked toward building awareness of older adult hunger with a message that has connected with people, receiving more than 735 million engagements over social media and involved thousands of grassroots volunteers to help people at risk of hunger.
Thanks to generous support from individuals and corporate sponsors including United Healthcare, Chase Card Services, CH Robinson Worldwide, Hillshire Brands and many others, Drive to End Hunger has raised millions of dollars to help fund long-term hunger solutions.
Drive to End Hunger highlights in 2013 include:
· In February, AARP Foundation created a Senior Hunger Outreach Program with the Campus Kitchens Project, a national network of universities and schools that work together to combat hunger in their own communities. In August, Gordon traveled to Athens, Georgia, where he helped student volunteers from the Campus Kitchen at UGA pack and deliver meals to local grandparents who are raising their grandkids.
· In September, for Hunger Action Month, AARP Foundation teamed up with Hillshire Brands, which donated a semi-truck load of food, and hundreds of volunteers for a massive meal-packing event at the Navy Yard Pier in Chicago. All told, there were 25,000 meals packed and $50,000 was donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank to serve hungry older Americans in the Chicago area.
· More than 500 fans donated to AARP Foundation, raising more than $67,000, and had their names appear on the hood of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS for the first race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway.
· In November, AARP Foundation launched a new promotion with Sedano’s supermarkets in Southern Florida offering people the opportunity to donate food or money to fight older adult hunger.
· Again this year, AARP and AARP Foundation have been fortunate enough to work with International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc., who in 2013 have donated nearly 25,000 pounds of excess food from race weekends to local food banks in their local communities on behalf of Drive to End Hunger.
· In 2013 Drive to End Hunger donated more than 13 million meals to help people put food on the table.
“The season has come to a close, but we are not slowing down our work to help the millions of older Americans who struggle to put food on the table,” added Ryerson. “We will keep pushing at full speed to help raise awareness of and create solutions for the plight of older adult hunger on and off the track.”
For more information about Drive to End Hunger, please visit www.drivetoendhunger.org.
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, strengthen communities, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.
Jim Dau / Charlotte Castillo