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AARP’s Drive to End Hunger Comes to New Mexico

Through Drive to End Hunger AARP and AARP Foundation are helping to raise awareness of the issue of senior hunger.

As part of that effort AARP New Mexico will be using NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon’s racecar to bring attention to the issue right here in our state.

The car will be the focal point of a food drive, to benefit The Storehouse, an Albuquerque food bank and one of the largest in the country. The event is set for Saturday, Sept. 17th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque.

“I don’t think that people realize that hunger is a very serious issue right here in the United States, right here in New Mexico,” said Beth Velasquez, AARP New Mexico Associate State Director for Communications. “A recent study by the New Mexico Coalition to End Hunger indicates that one out of eight seniors and one out of four children don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

“It’s not a matter of they don’t get enough to eat. They honestly don’t know when or even how they’ll eat again. That is really an unimaginable scenario for most of us and could very well be the situation friends and neighbors face,” Velasquez said.

“People tend to link hunger with homelessness and that’s not often the case. Someone who is experiencing hunger issues can seem very functioning on the outside but dealing with the issue of not having enough food or not knowing when they’ll eat again privately,” she said.

The Storehouse, which has been in operation for over 40 years, is one of the largest food pantries in America, ranking in the top 10 percent in volume of food. In 2010, it provided more than 2 million meals to hungry New Mexicans, and more than 500,000 articles of clothing – all at no charge. The Storehouse has no source of steady income and relies solely on donations.

The majority of The Storehouse's customers are the working poor – working, but not earning enough to cover their family’s basic living expenses.

“The recession has taken a toll on nearly everyone and that has resulted in some charitable organizations, including food banks struggling as well. We are hoping to gather a really significant amount of food for the Storehouse so it can continue to help people in the community,” Velasquez said.

“We’re urging people to attend our food drive on Sept. 17th and bring a non-perishable food item to benefit the Storehouse and have some fun while they’re at it. On display at the event will be Jeff Gordon’s racecar so people can come take a look at the car up close and if they have a camera, they can take a picture with it, she said.

 To add to the excitement, AARP New Mexico will also be giving away two Jeff Gordon racing team jackets. People making a donation to the Storehouse will be entered into the raffle to be held that day. Participants must be present to win.

The AARP Foundation entered into a partnership with Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jeff Gordon and team owner Rick Hendrick in a three-year sponsorship of Gordon’s No. 24 car.

The “Drive to End Hunger” campaign, the slogan that will emblaze Gordon’s cherry red car, is to increase people’s awareness that 51 million Americans face the threat of hunger and nearly 6 million of those are over the age of 60.

For more information on AARP New Mexico’s efforts to fight hunger. To learn more about hunger and what you can do visit Create the Good and click on the fight hunger campaign button.

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