Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

Highlights

Open
Military and Veterans Discount

 

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

AARP Auto Buying Program

MOST POPULAR

Viewed

Inspire Awards 2012 Honorees

Andy Czerkas, AARP Foundation Hunger Hero

Andy Czerkas, AARP The Magazine Inspire Awards 2012 Honoree

Andy Czerkas — Photo by Chris Crisman

When Andy Czerkas, 64, opened The River Food Pantry in Madison, Wisconsin, five years ago, he knew it would address a real need. But he didn't expect that need to grow so fast — the number of families the pantry feeds is up 10 percent just since last year. Czerkas and his wife, Jenny, 53, had for years worked through their church, organizing community dinners, but in 2005 they decided to "do something a little bit bigger." Today the pantry distributes 25,000 pounds of food each week to up to 600 families. This isn't the typical food bank: Clients "shop" among the aisles as if they were in a grocery store, pick out donated clothing, and eat hot meals served every Friday night on tables set with flowers, tablecloths, and silver ­ ware. "It's very difficult for someone who's never needed help to come in and admit they need it. We try to take the sting out," says Czerkas. "We can't fix things for people. We talk to them, we give them food. Sometimes that's enough, even if it's just for a little while."

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Downloadable mobile app from AARP® Roadside Assistance from Allstate.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points