WASHINGTON — AARP Foundation announced today that it has organized donations that will provide more than 146,000 meals for hungry seniors during the opening weeks of the 2011 NASCAR season. Building momentum for the campaign, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon found victory at Sunday's race behind the wheel of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet. During race weekends at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, AARP and AARP Foundation have worked with national and community-based groups to organize cash and food donations to benefit local food banks serving hungry seniors in Florida and Arizona.
"We're excited to be making a difference for hungry seniors around the country," said AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins. "With Jeff's win at Phoenix, we expect to build even more momentum going into our next race with the Drive to End Hunger car in Fontana. The NASCAR community has shown us its tremendous generosity in the last two weeks and has made a real difference for seniors suffering under the threat of hunger."
Through Drive to End Hunger and the No. 24 car, AARP Foundation will engage the NASCAR fan base, corporations and charitable organizations via a text-to-donate program; activation at racetracks across the country; further research on the causes and consequences of hunger in older Americans; and an innovative national grant program that will provide resources to address the problem at a local level.
To date, AARP Foundation has made $10,000 donations to both St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida in Orlando on behalf of Drive to End Hunger. On average, food banks can provide seven meals to hungry seniors for every dollar they receive. The initiative also organized a donation of extra food items from Daytona International Speedway and food drives at Daytona-area Winn-Dixie stores that together provided Second Harvest with more than 10,000 pounds of food.
Race fans and the public can donate to Drive to End Hunger by visiting DriveToEndHunger.org or texting "hunger" to 50555. (A $10 donation will go to AARP Foundation. Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. Message and Data Rates May Apply. You will receive two confirmation texts. Reply STOP to 50555 to STOP. Reply HELP to 50555 for HELP. Full Terms: www.mGive.org/T.)