FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 30, 2010
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AARP and AARP Foundation Announce Major Commitment to Alleviate Hunger among Older Americans
Initiative kicks off at AARP’s national event and expo with a challenge to text ‘hunger’ to 50555 to donate $10 to help AARP Foundation fight senior hunger
Orlando, Fla.—This year, six million older Americans will go hungry. Between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of poor and near-poor elderly who were hungry more than doubled—from 4.7 percent to 10.1 percent, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute. Today at Orlando@50+, AARP’s national event and expo, AARP and its affiliated charity, AARP Foundation, announced a multi-million dollar effort to help end hunger among older Americans.
“AARP believes no one of any age should go hungry,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP Foundation president. “Hunger among older Americans is a huge problem, but one that, if we all work together, is solvable. AARP and AARP Foundation are making a long-term commitment to helping older people get nutritious food on the table so that no one has to make the devastating choice between basic needs, like food, housing or utilities.”
Nationwide, AARP and AARP Foundation are launching anti-hunger initiatives including volunteer-led food drives, a major fundraising campaign, new online hunger resources (www.aarp.org/hunger) and local SNAP outreach and assistance. A key collaborator is UnitedHealthcare, which has signed on to support AARP Foundation initiatives, including awareness campaigns, volunteer mobilization efforts and local grantmaking programs.
“Good nutrition is essential to good health,” said Tom Paul, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare business. “As leaders in serving the health and well-being needs of millions of Medicare beneficiaries, we have no greater priority than in helping each and every older American live life to its fullest. This initiative with AARP Foundation marks an important step forward in addressing the growing problem of senior hunger, and we're honored to be involved."
Following are 2010 campaign elements:
* Raising Funds to Fight Hunger: Starting today, anyone can text ‘hunger’ to 50555 to donate $10 to help AARP Foundation fight hunger among older Americans. AARP Foundation’s text messaging campaign will be built out in 2011 to focus on raising money to support local programs designed to help seniors and older Americans access public benefits, connect with local food banks and put nutritious food on the table.
* Going Hungry in America: AARP.org has created a new online resource where anyone interested in learning more about the problem, getting involved or accessing resources to fight hunger among older Americans can go for information, tips and tools to get started. Going Hungry in America is live at www.aarp.org/hunger.
* Activating members and volunteers: Already this year, AARP Create The Good volunteers have collected food for local food banks in 27 states. Additional events are taking place through the end of the year. To raise money for local food banks, organize a local food drive, or help a friend or neighbor sign up for SNAP, people of all ages can visit www.aarp.org/hunger to find tips and tools in both English and Spanish.
* Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment: While more than seven million older Americans are eligible for SNAP, only about one-third – approximately 2.4 million people—actually are receiving benefits. In communities across the country, AARP offices and AARP Foundation volunteers are working to get older Americans enrolled in SNAP.
* Shining a spotlight on hunger Issues: Throughout the fall, AARP is highlighting personal stories and the latest research on hunger in AARP publications including AARP The Magazine, AARP Bulletin and AARP VIVA.
To learn more about hunger among older Americans, to start or join a food drive or to access resources, visit www.aarp.org/hunger.
AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. The Foundation is dedicated to serving vulnerable people 50+ by creating solutions that help them secure the essentials and achieve their best life. AARP Foundation focuses on: hunger, housing, income and isolation as our key mission areas. The Foundation envisions: ‘a country free of poverty where no older person feels vulnerable.’ Foundation programs are funded by grants, tax-deductible contributions and AARP. For more information about AARP Foundation, please log on to www.aarp.org/foundation.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.