HOMESTEAD, Fla. — With Jeff Gordon's victory Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins celebrated the finish of Drive to End Hunger’s second season in NASCAR by congratulating Gordon and the No. 24 Chevrolet team, and thanking the people and corporate donors that contributed to the year’s success.
"Congratulations to Jeff, Rick and the entire No. 24 Chevrolet team on tonight's win," Jenkins said Sunday. "Tonight's win was just the latest victory Jeff has delivered this season on the track and off it in the fight against older adult hunger."
“AARP Foundation and Drive to End Hunger are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support from NASCAR fans and committed corporate sponsors to help older Americans in need,” Jenkins said. “We never cease to be amazed by the compassion and commitment of people who give of their time, talents and money to help others in communities all across the country.”
Nearly 9 million Americans age 50 and older face the threat of hunger. AARP and AARP Foundation created Drive to End Hunger in 2010 to raise awareness about the problem of hunger among struggling Americans 50+ and to develop long-term, sustainable solutions to the problem. In 2011, AARP became NASCAR’s first cause-based primary sponsor with Drive to End Hunger featured on the No. 24 Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon. The effort raises the visibility of hunger while collecting cash and food donations in NASCAR race markets across the country.
Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger, the initiative has donated more than 13.4 million meals. Drive to End Hunger also helped thousands of people put food on the table through enrolling in the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, generating $13 million in local economic activity. Based largely on the initiative’s NASCAR program and with Gordon as its spokesperson, Drive to End Hunger has worked toward building awareness of older adult hunger with a message that has connected with people more than a billion times, and engaged more than 30,000 grassroots volunteers to help people at risk of hunger.
Thanks to generous support from individuals and corporate sponsors including United Healthcare, Chase Card Services, Quaker State and many others, Drive to End Hunger has raised more than $17.1 million to help fund long-term hunger solutions.
Drive to End Hunger highlights in 2012 include:
•In January, AARP Foundation announced a series of 10 “Innovation Grants” to community-based non-governmental organizations for programs with promising results that can be applied elsewhere to prevent hunger.
•Also in January, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick donated the first Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible for auction, raising a total of $700,000 for AARP Foundation to support Drive to End Hunger. The Corvette was purchased by Ron Pratte, who in January 2013 will be teaming up with Mr. Hendrick to donate two additional cars for auction to support Drive to End Hunger.
•In May, Jeff Gordon, Martina Navratilova and other celebrities joined more than a thousand volunteers for the Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million, which packaged and donated one million meals to North Carolina food banks.
•Also in May, AARP Foundation worked with Campbell Soup, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the U.S. Postal Service on Stamp Out Hunger, the nation’s largest food drive, which this year generated nearly 5 million meals.
•In August, social gaming giant Zynga teamed up in a promotion that engaged tens of thousands of FarmVille players in the fight against hunger, donating proceeds of specially marked game pieces to AARP Foundation to support Drive to End Hunger.
•This month, AARP Foundation will donate more than $440,000 to food banks and non-profit organizations responding to the food needs of people hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.
•All year long, International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Incorporated helped fight older adult hunger across the country by donating extra food – more than 24,000 meals – from their racetracks to local food banks on behalf of Drive to End Hunger.
“The season may be over, but we’re just hitting Turn 2 in our work to help the nearly nine million older Americans who struggle to put food on the table,” added Jenkins. “We will keep pushing at full speed to help raise awareness of and create solutions to the plight of older adult hunger. With Jeff and Rick, Drive to End Hunger has great champions on and off the track.”
For more information about Drive to End Hunger, please visit www.drivetoendhunger.org.