The Drive to End Hunger was the clear winner during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race week in Brooklyn, Michigan June 16-19.
AARP MI staff worked the kiosk at the Drive to End Hunger tent at the Michigan International Speedway and collected $4,456 from race fans who stopped by to learn about hunger issues facing older Americans and to help with the relief effort.
The AARP Foundation also kicked in $10,000 to the Food Bank of South Central Michigan during a ceremony at Race Fest on June 16 that featured four-time NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon. In addition, the Food Bank took in 168 pounds of food at the event.
“One thing I’ve learned about NASCAR fans in general, and especially my fans, is that when they see there’s something I’m passionate about they get behind me, and they want to make it an effort to make a difference,” Gordon said. “It takes a lot more than donations. We’ve got to spread the word. It’s as much about awareness as it is about donations.”
Nationwide, about 6 million older Americans go to bed hungry every night. In Michigan, about 5 percent of seniors suffer from hunger, said Jacqueline Morrison, AARP Michigan state director.
Thousands of race fans learned more about hunger by taking an online quiz at the tent at Michigan International Speedway. And nearly 300 Race Fest attendees had free pictures taken with the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet race car at Race Fest, provided by AARP Michigan.
“It was a successful week and we learned plenty that will help us be help even more people successful next year,” said Karen Kafantaris, associate state director for livable communities who coordinated the event for AARP Michigan.