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President's Corner

1 Million Meals Packaged or Donated for N.C. Food Banks

Charlotte event a success

Editor's note: A week of activities organized by AARP Foundation to pack and donate meals for North Carolina food banks ended with the two-day Charlotte 1 Million Meals event at the Charlotte Convention Center, May 24-25. All told, 1 million meals were packed or donated to help feed North Carolina families. Event Recap | Press Release The original article is below.

We're Packaging 1 Million Meals for N.C. Food Banks

(May 18) - AARP and AARP Foundation's Drive to End Hunger Campaign have yielded many "firsts" in our effort to raise awareness nationwide about how hunger affects the 50+ population. Working with Outreach Inc., we think our 1 Million Meals event in Charlotte, N.C., on May 24 and 25 will be another record breaker to add to that list.

Jo Ann Jenkins President, AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins

Here's what will happen, and who will be involved. Three days before Jeff Gordon drives his No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet in the race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway — part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series — he'll be with thousands of volunteers at the Charlotte Convention Center helping them reach the goal of packaging 1 million nutritious meals to feed hungry people across North Carolina.

This event has a serious purpose. Nearly one in four North Carolinians is at risk of hunger, including 9.1 percent of those who are 50-plus. They need our help and we need to raise awareness of their plight — and that of the other 9 million hungry older Americans in the United States.

Not only will Jeff Gordon be with us Thursday, May 24, but CBS NFL Today sports broadcaster James "J.B." Brown will participate Friday, May 25.

This is a really big event, and AARP Foundation has enlisted many corporate sponsors to help feed hungry North Carolinians, beginning with our partners UnitedHealthcare and Hendrick Motorsports. Both will hold packaging events in their own facilities.

* On May 22, 250 UnitedHealthcare employees in Greensboro, N.C., will package 50,000 meals. In addition, UnitedHealthcare is contributing $50,000 to support this event.

* On May 25, Hendrick Motor Sports is holding a meal packing competition at its Concord, N.C., headquarters, between its drivers (Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin) and their pit crews.

Other generous sponsors for this event include:

* Smithfield Foods, providing two truckloads of protein servings
* C.H. Robinson Worldwide, trucking the meals to five North Carolina food banks
* Pepsi, providing beverages for the volunteers
* Walgreens, offering volunteers free health screenings
* Time Warner Cable, providing time slots for public service announcements
* Sprint, sending out an email blast to its 1 million racing fans
* Chase Card Services, doubling its 3 cents per transaction donation to 6 cents in May

And we're grateful to Outreach Inc. for its invaluable support. This amazing Iowa-based nonprofit started out feeding hungry children around the world, but has now developed high-impact, low-cost food packages that meet the special nutritional needs of older adults. Each package provides six protein-rich, vitamin- and mineral-fortified meals for 25 cents per serving.

If you live within driving distance of Charlotte, or are planning to go to the Charlotte NASCAR race on May 27, we hope you'll join the 3,500 volunteers who are packaging 1 million meals for hungry North Carolinians and become part of the excitement. We need your help! Or, if you have friends or family living in the Greater Charlotte region, please share this news with them. Learn more and volunteer here.

If you can't take part May 24 and 25 but want to help, please consider making a donation to Drive to End Hunger, which supports the hunger solutions of AARP Foundation. We appreciate your support of our efforts in Charlotte and across the nation to win back opportunity for our 50+ population.

Also of interest: Senior gardens take root in East Palo Alto.

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