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Drive to End Hunger Thanks NASCAR Fans, Volunteers for Great First Year

There is no off-season for the fight to help people facing hunger

Homestead, FL – As the 2011 NASCAR season drew to a close today at Homestead-Miami Speedway, AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins celebrated the first season of Drive to End Hunger by thanking the people and corporate donors that contributed to the campaign’s initial success.

"AARP Foundation and Drive to End Hunger are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support from NASCAR fans and all their work to help older Americans in need," said Jenkins. "We knew this initiative had a special opportunity in working with Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team, but even we were surprised by the tremendous heart and generosity of NASCAR fans and corporate donors who helped provide resources and food for millions of older Americans facing the threat of hunger."

An estimated 8.8 million Americans 50 and older are at risk of hunger, including 4.9 million 50- to 59-year-olds, according to research released this year by AARP Foundation. AARP and AARP Foundation created Drive to End Hunger to raise awareness and funds to end hunger among older Americans. In February, AARP became NASCAR's first cause-based primary sponsor with Drive to End Hunger featured on Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet. The effort raises the visibility of hunger while collecting cash and food donations in NASCAR race markets across the country.

During each of Drive to End Hunger's race weekends, AARP Foundation made major cash donations to local hunger relief organizations. This weekend, the Foundation donated $10,000 to Feeding South Florida. On average, food banks can deliver seven meals for each dollar donated. In addition to local food and cash donations, the Foundation will award hunger innovation grants—ranging between $50,000 and $300,000—to local, state, and national organizations, to develop or scale projects focused on long-term, sustainable solutions to older adult hunger.

In 2011, Drive to End Hunger donated nearly four million meals through local hunger relief organizations during its first year, and AARP Foundation raised more than $13.7 million from corporate and individual donors to help combat hunger among Americans 50 and older.

"We're looking forward to Daytona and another great year in 2012," added Jenkins. "For now, though, we ask NASCAR fans to remember that this important work can't wait until February. The holiday season is here, and there is no off-season for the fight to help people facing hunger."

For more information, please visit www.DriveToEndHunger.org ▸

About AARP Foundation: 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.aarpfoundation.org.

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Jim Dau, 202-434-2560

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