DRIVE TO END HUNGER
Why We Created Drive to End Hunger
For an alarming number of Americans age 50 and over, the worst downturn since the Great Depression and a slow recovery have made any opportunity feel distant, if not totally unattainable. This group faces choices and pressures unlike those of any other age group – choices no one could have prepared for – and those nearly 9 million people 50+ who struggle every day to put food on the table need a voice and an advocate now more than ever.
That’s why, in February 2011, AARP Foundation initiated Drive to End Hunger, a multiyear nationwide campaign to raise awareness and funds to address the problem of hunger among people 50+, and develop both short-term and long-term solutions to the hunger problem.
Hunger and its serious health consequences (e.g., diabetes, depression, even malnutrition) are one of the most formidable public health challenges facing the United States today, particularly among older people.
In eight years, from 2001 – 2009, the number of Americans age 50+ threatened by hunger soared by 79 percent, to nearly 9 million people.
The recession has made the hunger problem much worse, particularly among older people 50-59 who are usually too young for Social Security and Medicare and too old for programs that help families with children. Between 2007 and 2009, the most dramatic increase in food insecurity – 38 percent -- was among those whose annual incomes were twice the poverty line.
How Is Drive to End Hunger Helping?
The chief priorities of Drive to End Hunger are to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger among adults 50+, and to provide short- and long-term solutions to the problem of older adult hunger. These include:
- Helping hard-working, trusted organizations in communities across America who have been doing a heroic job helping hungry people age 50+. Because the number of people in crisis is still growing, it’s a challenge to reach everyone and ensure people know where to find help. That’s where we come in. AARP is working side by side with organizations nationwide so we can reach more people and make resources go further.
- An innovative, cause-related collaboration with four-time NASCAR Cup Champion Jeff Gordon and team owner Rick Hendrick to increase knowledge about and support for ending hunger among older Americans.
- Commissioning research into the problem, including “Food Insecurity among Older Adults,” the first research ever to look at hunger among those 50-59.
- Educating and enrolling hungry older people in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Today, just one-third of those 60+ who are eligible for SNAP are enrolled; two-thirds are not.
- Providing $1.9 million in Hunger Impact grants to local nonprofit organizations to develop or expand innovative and scalable anti-hunger programs for adults 50+.
How Well Has Drive to End Hunger Done?
Very well. From February 2011 to December 2012, AARP Foundation Drive to End Hunger has:
- Donated more than 20 million meals to hungry older people
- Raised almost $17 million through individual and corporate donations
- Provided $383,000 to AARP state offices for anti-hunger campaigns
How Is Drive to End Hunger Funded?
- Through donations from individuals, corporations and other non-profits and through a unique cause-marketing campaign with NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jeff Gordon and team owner Rick Hendrick.
- UnitedHealthCare and AARP Credit Card from Chase are proud sponsors of Drive to End Hunger.
How Can I Support Drive to End Hunger?
- Make a donation online.
- Text “HUNGER” to 50555.
(USNEWS, February 13) - US News & World Report reports on the growing trend in the medical community of treating what are traditionally thought of as social problems as health issues, noting “addressing issues like hunger, housing and education can have more of an impact on people’s health than the traditional medical services hospitals deliver.” Read
(Huffington Post, Feb. 12) - Underscoring the “epidemic impacts” of poor nutrition, obesity and hunger on public health, in the Huffington Post, Ambassador Tony Hall, Executive Director of the Alliance to End Hunger, says that hunger “among children, seniors, pregnant women and other adults has an effect on all aspects of wellness, from chronic disease to mental illness.” Read