AARP Colorado and the AARP Foundation not only helped promote the recent Stamp Out Hunger food drive in Mesa County, but the state office staff was brilliant at turning community partners into volunteers for the collection of food.
See Also: Drive to End Hunger
“Incredible! Your team’s contribution to SOH (Stamp Out Hunger) have ranged from ad and media promotion to e-blasts articles, and now actually getting partners to engage as volunteers in this effort,” said Tresa Ballard, Senior Advisor for AARP Civic Engagement.
AARP Colorado and community partners collected 102,000 pounds of food. This is the first year AARP staff and volunteers worked the food drive on the Western Slope and the second year they have been involved in the effort as part of the AARP Foundation “Drive to End Hunger,” a national program aimed at stamping out food insecurity.
On the second Saturday in May each year, in America’s largest single-day food drive, known officially as Stamp Out Hunger, letter carriers across the country pick up bags of non-perishable food products left for them by households on their usual routes – and deliver those donations to local food banks and pantries.
“Nearly 9 million adults age 50 and older are uncertain where their next meal may be coming from, so the time is now to put an end to this issue,” said AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins. “We encourage everyone who can to join us in this critical cause to fill a bag with food, leave it by your mailbox, and help someone in need.”
Because Fruita did not have enough letter carriers to collect the food, community partners joined in and helped, which resulted in a collection nearly double last year’s effort.
Create The Good lead Cathy Lasnik worked with Pancho Carrillo, of the U.S. Postal Service. Carrillo said significant cutbacks had been made to the Postal Service’s Fruita operation and he was concerned that the office wouldn’t be able to manage all the routes.
“He asked if we could help,” Lasnik said. “I said, ‘give me a couple of days to see what I can do.’”
Local AARP volunteers, including Terri Potente and John Rodwick, along with the local Chamber of Commerce came to the rescue.
“This was truly a community collaboration and one that we were very proud to be a part of,” said AARP Colorado Director Morie Smile.