NASCAR likes to start things with a flourish. That’s why it kicks off the season, every year, with its premier event, the Daytona 500. Drive to End Hunger, in its fourth year of partnership with Jeff Gordon, the Hendrick Motorsports team and the #24 Chevrolet SS, kicked off its year at Daytona as well, despite a one-day delay caused by the rains that also held up Sunday's race for more than six hours.
On Saturday, Feb. 22, some 300 volunteers, their spirits undampened by the weather, packed 20,000 meals for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, in an event sponsored by Chase and its AARP Credit Card program.
Throughout the race season, Drive to End Hunger will hold meal-packing events and other efforts at select races, with plans to surpass the great donation totals of both food and money from previous years.
AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger and joined forces with four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon in 2011 to address the staggering food needs of America’s low-income seniors, nearly 9 million of whom suffer from food insecurity every day. What does “food insecurity” mean? It means these older adults don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or whether they will be able to have that next meal at all. It means they make tough choices between food and rent or even medicine.
But Drive to End Hunger and its teammates such as Chase are making a difference. Since its inception, the campaign has:
- Partnered with several organizations to donate nearly 30 million meals to support hunger relief efforts in communities across the country.
- Raised more than $21 million through individual and corporate donations
- Helped more than 35,000 older adults apply for benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The Saturday meal-packing event, originally scheduled for Friday, included representatives from Chase, AARP Foundation and Second Harvest. AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson commented: “These tremendous volunteers are helping people in their own communities. By staying involved, they’ll be the heart of long-term solutions that prevent others from going hungry in the future.”
“Chase is proud to announce that we are donating more than 100,000 meals in 2014,” said Mike Rittler, general manager, Chase. “As part of Chase's support of the fight to end hunger among older Americans, we will also raise up to $1 million for the cause in 2014 through our AARP Credit Card from Chase.”
“This weekend's storms didn't allow me to participate, but they didn't stop some amazing NASCAR fans from packing meals to help hungry older Americans put food on the table,” said Jeff Gordon. “I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces – and meeting new ones – at Drive to End Hunger events across the country this season.”