Driving to End Hunger

It was a hot day in the parking lot of BJ’s Wholesale Club in Conyers last Thursday, but we forgot all about that as the spirit of community filled the air. Team members from AARP Georgia and BJ’s had set up a perfect event for the kid in all of us. As tunes cranked from Project 9-6-1, and the students from Rockdale County’s Hightower Trail Elementary School and Georgia State Sen. Renee Unterman showed up, we couldn’t help but feel happy.

The students were there to compete in a contest to see which of six teams could most creatively build out their own version of Jeff Gordon’s Drive to End Hunger Show Car #24 – each team had 24 bulk nonperishable food items and only 24 minutes to build their car. While one team was chosen as the winner, all the kids felt like winners because they knew the food would be going to people in need after the contest. Throw in an ice cream party for all the participants, and you’ve got some happy campers!

As part of the national Drive to End Hunger campaign, AARP has provided $10,000 grants to several Feeding America food banks, including the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

AARP Georgia is also part of a coalition that works with ACFB’s Atlanta Prosperity Campaign to help Georgians access federal benefits such as food stamps, now known as SNAP (supplemental food nutrition program). This fall, they’ll be helping seniors apply for food stamps from September 29-November 1 in Gwinnett, Fulton and Cobb counties.  Some locations will also offer health screenings.

“Only one third of the seniors who qualify for food stamps (SNAP) are receiving them,” said AARP Georgia’s Janie Walker.  “Our goal is to reach 9,000 more Georgia seniors this year.”

AARP released a study last week “Food Security among Older Adults.”  Nearly 9 million adults age 50 and older face the risk of hunger.