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AARP, AARP Foundation Donate $12,000 to Feed Big Bend Seniors

AARP and AARP Foundation Step In to Keep Older Big Bend

Residents From Hunger While Long-Term Solutions Are Found

AARP, AARP Foundation contribute $12,000 to keep Second Harvest of the Big Bend food program going; program helps 635 older Big Bend residents find food

Sept. 2, 2015
Media Contact: Dave Bruns

senior hunger
Tallahassee, Fla. – AARP Foundation, AARP’s charitable affiliate, and AARP today announced a $12,000 donation to America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend to help maintain a food program helping 635 older Big Bend residents for most of the rest of 2015, while longer-term solutions are identified.

“AARP and AARP Foundation have made it a priority to end senior hunger, through our nationally recognized Drive to End Hunger initiative and in other ways,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director.  “When we learned that the senior grocery program at America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend found itself in jeopardy, we were happy to step in.”

“Older residents who depend on this program will now have something to eat, thanks to the fast response from AARP, the AARP Foundation and the community at large,” said Jim Croteau, the interim CEO of America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend (ASHBB).  “We are very grateful for the incredible response we’ve received to recent news of this unfortunate situation.”

Last year, a missed deadline meant that ASHBB was not able to qualify for assistance from the Community Human Service Program, a joint initiative of the City of Tallahassee, Leon County and the United Way of the Big Bend to help meet human-service needs in the community.

Croteau, who became interim CEO of ASHBB in April, announced in late August that Second Harvest would have to suspend a program that provides food supplies to 635 older people in the Big Bend area through 10 area feeding programs because of funding constraints. The program provides 10-pound bags of food once a week to older area residents facing hunger, and costs about $3,000 per month to administer. ASHBB provides assistance to more than 130 area organizations and helps provide food to up to 50,000 North Floridians per month.

Johnson said a key factor driving the decision to step in was that the donation would buy time for United Way of the Big Bend and other local organizations to find longer-term solutions to sustaining the senior food program.

Johnson noted that AARP Foundation works on a national level to find strategies to combat the growing issue of senior hunger, through its national Drive to End Hunger initiative.

Nearly 9 million people 50 and older struggle with hunger every day. In an innovative alliance with Hendricks Motor Sports and four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon, Drive to End Hunger has raised the equivalent of 20 million meals to feed hungry Americans age 50-plus since 2011.  In 2013, the alliance moved beyond the track to include alliances with NFL, NBA and FIFA teams.  For example, in May, more than 4,000 volunteers working with AARP and the Miami Dolphins helped pack more than 1 million meals for older adults.

AARP Foundation and AARP also make targeted donations on a limited basis when it is possible to leverage other resources to reduce senior hunger. For example, in 2013, AARP Foundation made a grant to the Volusia County Council on Aging to help leverage an equal amount from a private donor. Since 2011, AARP Foundation has made $1.9 million in donations to organizations to find sustainable, strategic solutions to growing hunger among older adults.

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About AARP Foundation:
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, strengthen communities, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is AARP’s affiliated charity. Learn more

About AARP:
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community;  and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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