30 Hunger Action Items

Here are some simple things individuals and consumers can do to help combat hunger and food insecurity

Senior Hunger Month-29 Days of Action

Senior Hunger Awareness Month-30 Days of Action — Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

More than 10 million older adults struggle every day with limited or no regular access to affordable, nutritious food. AARP Foundation putting a spotlight on hunger during April, which is Senior Hunger Awareness Month. Join us and learn 30 simple actions you can take to combat hunger in your community.

Here are ideas of how you can help.

  • Take the Hunger Pledge. Join AARP Foundation and its supporters in signing a pledge to help end hunger and make a difference in the lives of people in your community.

  • Lead a grocery store tour. Help families learn to cook and shop for healthy, affordable, delicious meals by leading a grocery store tour in your community. AARP Foundation is piloting programs in Tennessee and Mississippi to help families learn to eat well on a budget. Visit DrivetoEndHunger.org to learn about getting involved.

  • Advocate on behalf of food-insecure Americans. Support programs that protect people facing hunger.  The Alliance to End Hunger is a coalition of over 90 members — corporations, non-profits, faith-based organizations, universities, foundations, international organizations and individuals — working to build public and political will to end hunger.

  • Eat less meat. More than two-thirds of the world’s agricultural land is devoted to growing livestock feed, in comparison to the 8 percent used to grow food for direct human consumption . At least 4 billion people could be fed with the crops we currently devote to fattening livestock.

  • Pick some fruit.  Food Forward is a volunteer-powered grassroots group in Southern California that rescues fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste and donates 100 percent of the fruit and vegetables to the hungry. Volunteer or donate your excess fruit and vegetables.

  • Help put people back to work. Fresh Start Catering is DC Central Kitchen’s revenue generating social enterprise employing its Culinary Job Training Program graduates. When you do business with Fresh Start Catering, you receive high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients and are directly supporting DC Central Kitchen’s hunger programs and culinary graduates. Cater your next event (pdf).

  • Buy fair trade. The Hunger Site is an online activism website that sells fair trade items, including seasonal home décor and everyday goods, to benefit participating charities like Food Recovery Network, Millennium Promise and Mercy Corps. Proceeds are split between the organizations and go toward fighting hunger in more than 74 countries around the world.

  • Come up with your own ideas. Be a trailblazer. Come up with your own ideas on how to effect change and feed the hungry, whether it's in your own community or across the country. Comment on this story with your best ideas on how to fight hunger.


Senior Hunger Month-29 Days of Action, man and caregiver food shopping

Senior Hunger Awareness Month-30 Days of Action, man and caregiver food shopping — Fred Froese/Getty Images

  • Be a part of AARP Foundation's annual Virtual Food Drive. We're working to raise $125,000 to help end senior hunger and assist older adults who don't know where their next meal is coming from. Join the fight with your gift now!

  • Step behind the wheel. If you know of seniors in your community who are home-bound or don’t drive often, offer to drive them to the supermarket or ask if they would like for you to grocery shop for them.

  • Help rebuild a life. L.A. Kitchen’s culinary arts and nutrition advocacy training program prepares older adults exiting the prison system, youth aging out of foster care, and others struggling with barriers to employment for careers in the food service industry. Learn more.

  • Protect Mother Earth. Shop brands that are a part of the Sustainability Consortium, a global nonprofit organization working at the intersection of science and business to transform the consumer goods industry to deliver more sustainable products.

  • Fight food deserts. UpLift Solutions, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization that supports food businesses, government and nonprofits in becoming an anchor to ensure consistent access to fresh, affordable food, particularly in food deserts, and to fulfill community needs in underserved neighborhoods.  Learn more

  • Deliver meals. Volunteer to pick up and deliver meals to hungry seniors as part of Meals on Wheels. Click here to find your closest MOW group.

  • Support food-saving programs. The Society of St. Andrew is a religious-based but ecumenical nonprofit that organizes the Gleaning Network—groups of volunteers who salvage surplus produce from farms all over the nation that would otherwise be wasted. Find a local chapter.

Senior Hunger Month-29 Days of Action, Volunteer

Senior Hunger Awareness Month-30 Days of Action, Volunteer — Istock

  • Teach a cooking class. Put your cooking and nutrition expertise to good use and volunteer to teach a course in Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters program. The program guides participants through the process of making nutritious and cost-effective meals for their families. Click here to sign up.

  • Use less energy. When energy costs skyrocket, the price of food goes up, too, making it harder to feed a family on a tight budget. Conserve energy by insulating your home, buying energy-efficient light bulbs and walking instead of driving. Buy locally grown foods and locally manufactured goods, which typically use less energy because they incur fewer transportation and staging costs.

  • Write a letter to the editor. Persuade your local editorial writers to cover senior hunger as a health issue. By 2030, there will be more than 72 million older people in the United States — more than twice the number in 2000. Rates of food insecurity among those 50 and older have more than doubled since 2001, and rates of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases contribute to skyrocketing health care costs. In 2010, older adults spent 13.2 percent of their total expenditures on healthcare — more than twice the proportion spent by consumers overall. Learn more.

  • Start (or support) a Campus Kitchen in your community. Campus Kitchens partners with high schools, colleges, and universities to share on-campus kitchen space, recover food from cafeterias and engage students as volunteers who prepare and deliver meals to the community. Get started here

  • Take AARP’s Hunger Quiz. Test your knowledge by taking our Hunger Quiz.

  • Help seniors find support. Learn about government food assistance programs and local services available in your community and help a loved one or family member sign up for the extra help he or she needs.

  • Dine out.  During April, show your AARP membership card at participating Denny’s and a 25 cent donation will be made to AARP Foundation (up to $250,000). 


Senior Hunger Month-29 Days of Action, Dining Out

Senior Hunger Awareness Month-30 Days of Action, Dining Out — Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

  • Donate to your local food bank. Learn which foods are the best to donate.

  • Waste less food. Americans waste more than 60 billion pounds of food each year, with the bulk of that food ending up in landfills instead of feeding people. When you cook, make smaller portions. Shop with conservation instead of abundance in mind.

  • Start (or participate in) a community garden. Community gardens in urban areas and food deserts allow participants to cultivate healthy and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables on unused land, while providing necessary food for people in need. Get tips.

  • Share a meal. Invite someone who is 50 or older to share a meal at your home or theirs, or take them out to eat at their favorite restaurant. Something as simple as enjoying a meal in the company of friends and family can help combat senior loneliness and isolation.

  • Volunteer. Help bring relief to the seniors in your community who are struggling to meet their basic needs. Volunteer.

  • Educate yourself. More than 10 million adults age 50 and older struggle with hunger. Follow on Twitter organizations like AARP Foundation (@AARPCares), Feeding America (@FeedingAmerica) and others to learn what’s happening and how you can help.

  • Make a donation to AARP Foundation. Help connect hungry seniors with food banks and other vital resources—$8 can help feed a senior for a day! Donate now.
  • Donate nonperishable items right at your doorstep through the annual Stamp Out Hunger campaign. Your letter carrier will pick up your filled grocery bag on May 13 this year. Learn more.

Senior Hunger Month-29 Days of Action, Community Garden

Senior Hunger Awareness Month-30 Days of Action, Community Garden — Istock

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