FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2013
Hillary John or Charlotte Castillo, Media@aarp.org
Robert Egger, 202-409-1372
AARP Foundation Announces Million Dollar Partnership with Nonprofit Start-Up, L.A. Kitchen, in Effort to Fight Older Adult Hunger
Robert Egger, Nonprofit Leader and Founder of D.C. Central Kitchen, Begins New Endeavour on West Coast
Washington, D.C. - AARP Foundation today announced its founding partnership with L.A. Kitchen, a startup nonprofit founded by Robert Egger, a national nonprofit leader and creator of D.C. Central Kitchen – in an effort to provide innovative solutions to fight older adult hunger. As a founding partner, AARP Foundation will contribute a total of one million dollars to the project over the next three years.
Building on the success of D.C. Central Kitchen which has been turning donated food from local businesses into meals for needy individuals since 1989, L.A. Kitchen will use produce from local farmers to make fresh and/or frozen products for older adults; provide a job-training program in the culinary arts; and integrate all of AARP Foundation’s focus areas – hunger, income, housing and isolation – into its local efforts.
“Robert Egger’s success in fighting hunger in our nation’s capital led AARP Foundation to pursue this latest endeavor with great enthusiasm. We are looking forward to working with L.A. Kitchen to improve the lives of struggling older adults in Los Angeles as the work we do continues to focus on empowering and connecting seniors with resources they may need,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP Foundation President.
From 2001 – 2009, the number of Americans age 50+ threatened by hunger soared by nearly 80 percent; and according to AARP Foundation research conducted in 2011, nearly 9 million older adults face the threat of hunger every day. This rising tide of hardship is primed to worsen as 78 million Baby Boomers age and enter retirement, establishing clear need among food insecure older adults to have better access to healthy meals and also to find new ways to improve their financial well being.
D.C. Central Kitchen’s model of using food as a tool to strengthen community has proven successful. The organization prepares 5,000 meals a day that are in turn delivered to 100 locations, and also offers a 14-week job-training program that instructs 25 people at a time in the culinary arts.
L.A. Kitchen will mirror the D.C. Central Kitchen model and also will engage and serve the low-income 50+ population in creative, inclusive, and empowering ways via a programmatic approach that integrates all of AARP Foundation's impact areas. As part of this three-year commitment, AARP Foundation will collaborate with L.A. Kitchen to find innovative strategies to solving the issues surrounding older adult hunger.
“AARP Foundation is the perfect founding partner for this effort,” said Robert Egger. “The leadership and Board share my sense of excitement about the vision for the L.A. Kitchen, but also my sense of urgency over the need to elevate one overarching idea—how will we value older Americans.”
According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap (2010), Los Angeles County has the
highest number of food insecure individuals in the country. A UCLA study found that in
2007, 47 percent of older Californians, or roughly 1.8 million people, did not make enough money to cover their basic needs, although just eight percent of them fell below the federal poverty level that year. The study estimated that 312,000 seniors in Los Angeles County – more than 50 percent of older Americans living independently – and 1.8 million statewide cannot make it on their own. Currently, nearly one-third of the homeless there are over the age of 50. According to Egger, L.A. Kitchen will go well beyond preparing meals and engaging elders. Not only will the project expand capacity to serve the 50+ population - it will, by design, attract the media, with the intention of raising national awareness and challenging assumptions about aging. L.A. Kitchen seeks to be at the forefront of redefining the role of seniors in America.
Moreover, L.A. Kitchen aims to make older adults fundamentally stronger by providing more than just food. Using a holistic approach will address not only the nutritional needs of those served but also the physical, social, mental and financial aspects of older adults. L.A. Kitchen is slated to launch in late summer 2013, but much of the work will begin in the weeks and months prior to opening its doors.
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is the charitable affiliate of AARP. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.