By filling up grocery bags with non-perishable food items and leaving it at their mailboxes, AARP members and partners collected over 395,429 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina’s 34-county service area.
On Saturday May 11, Letter Carriers across the country, performed double duty on their routes by delivering the mail and collecting food items during the 21st Annual STAMP OUT HUNGER food drive
. Supporting this effort is just one way AARP is responding to help those in need.
AARP Associate State Director Suzanne Black said, “AARP members across the state are responding to a real health crisis. Unless we act, that number of malnourished people increase as the aging population grows.”
From 2001 through 2009, the number of people age 50 and above struggling with hunger or lacking sufficient nutrition and food resources rose by almost 80 percent. Today, nearly 9 million older Americans are at risk of hunger.
In August 2011, AARP Foundation released new research on food insecurity among people age 50-59, the first study commissioned to examine hunger among baby boomers. Since people 50 – 59 are almost always too young for Social Security and Medicare and too old to qualify for programs for families with young children, a bad economy may hit them particularly hard.
AARP member Audrey Kates Baily who appeared on an NBC morning show in Raleigh to talk about the problem said, “North Carolina is one of the top ten states in the US where adults over age 60 are at risk of going hungry. AARP is responding in many different ways.”
As part of its Drive to End Hunger nationwide campaign, AARP Foundation is educating and enrolling people age 65+in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP).
Using SNAP is discreet and easy. Benefits come on a SNAP card that looks and acts like a debit card. When people buy food with it, funds are deducted electronically. SNAP also provides a significant boost to local economies. Every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates nearly twice as much ($9.20) in total community spending.
The Foundation’s research also found that states that have significant problems with hunger also have high concentrations of African-American and Hispanics. As part of its response, AARP is working with community leaders in Charlotte to help a large Latino population facing a food crisis.
In partnership with Latino Magazine, the AARP Foundation is hosting a special forum called “No Mas Hambre,” (no more hunger). Working with Charlotte-area food banks, politicians, community organizers and the media, AARP is helping raise awareness and response to the problem of hunger in the Latino community.
Also in Charlotte, AARP’s Drive to End Hunger will be collecting donations for area food banks at the Charlotte 600 Sprint Cup race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24-25. AARP is a sponsor of Jeff Gordon’s Drive to End Hunger NASCAR team.
From volunteering at your local food bank, to directing people in need to the SNAP program, there are many ways to get involved. The easiest way to find information is to go to www.drivetoendhunger.org