Thank you very much, Kent, for that introduction, and thank you especially for the terrific work that you and your colleagues in AARP’s Iowa office are doing on behalf of the people in this state who are 50+.
Thank you, Ambassador Quinn, for your leadership on this summit and in so many other ways on the issue of hunger. I also want to express my appreciation to the organizers of this forum for inviting me to talk to all of you this morning.
I am pleased to come to a state that plays such an important role in combating hunger—not only as a producer of food but also as a steadfast champion of access to food.
Each one of you—whether you’re with a nonprofit organization or you’re in the private sector or the public sector—is contributing to the fight against hunger—and I know there is a great deal we can learn from each other.
Here in Iowa and across the US, a critical part of combating hunger is finding committed volunteers. I was struck by the name of Gov. Branstad’s call to action seeking to increase the average number of hours Iowans volunteer each year.
It’s called, “What’s your 50?”
That sounds like something you would hear at AARP, which represents about 37 million people who are 50+. We know that many AARP members are asking “What’s next?” in their own lives.
They’re asking, “What can I do to bring even greater meaning and purpose to my later years?
How can I help to build a stronger community?
What new challenges and connections should I pursue to live a rewarding life?”
Learn more about AARP and AARP Foundation's efforts to fight hunger.
All told, Drive to End Hunger raised money and collected 52,794 pounds of food to support hunger-relief organizations across the country.
"We were blown away by the heart and generosity of NASCAR fans in 2011, and we couldn't be happier with an on-track champion like Jeff Gordon," said Jo Ann Jenkins, president of AARP Foundation.
But Drive to End Hunger also is making its marks outside of the race track; the multipronged initiative is tackling hunger from several angles.
Hunger Innovation Grants
In January 2012, AARP Foundation made $1.9 million in grants available to fund 10 organizations working to ensure long-term food security for Americans 50+, including:
- Action for Boston Community Development, Boston
- Boston Medical Center Corporation, Boston
- Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Bozeman, Mont.
- Texas A&M Research Foundation, College Station, Texas
- Collective Roots Garden Project Inc., East Palo Alto, Calif.
- Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe Inc., El Paso, Texas
- Western Mountains Alliance, Farmington, Maine
- First Nations Development Institute, Longmont, Colo.
- Hidalgo Medical Services Inc., Lordsburg, N.M.
- Lifelong Aids Alliance, Seattle
These grants support the development or scaling of solutions to older adult hunger, such as education to improve food security, food-to-table efforts that link local agriculture to institutions serving adults 50 and older and research on food insecurity among underserved populations, including Black/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos and Native Americans.