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Sunshine State Played a Unique Role in AARP's Development

Programs benefiting members remains the goal

To promote awareness of hunger among older people, AARP and AARP Foundation last year launched the Drive to End Hunger with Hendrick Motorsports and driver Jeff Gordon. The goal of the multiyear effort is to attack the growing problem of hunger among older Americans. In Florida, 18 percent of the 7 million residents 60 and older are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.

Gordon's No. 24 Drive to End Hunger car debuted at the Daytona 500 in February. "This is a truly unique opportunity to help people, and it's a completely new, cause-driven approach to sponsorship," Gordon said at a news conference last October launching the drive. "Every single day, millions of older Americans are forced to make a choice between food, medicine and utilities."

During race week, AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins presented a check for $10,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

"For every dollar donated to Second Harvest Food Bank we distribute $9 worth of groceries," said Dave Krepcho, Second Harvest president and CEO.

Daytona International Speedway donated leftover food from the event to the food bank. "Enough food for 8,000 meals was left over," Krepcho said. "If they didn't make that commitment, it would have gone into the Dumpster."

John Van Gieson is a freelance writer living in Tallahassee, Fla.

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