AARP Foundation, Meals On Wheels Association of America and Aging, Disability and Transit Services (ADTS) are teaming up with Jeff Gordon – four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports – to deliver the one millionth Meals on Wheels meal to a local family in Stoneville, N.C.
ADTS is receiving funding through the More Than A Meal research grant from AARP Foundation to the Meals On Wheels Association. Gordon will deliver a meal and meet with the Meals on Wheels recipient from Stoneville, on his way to the Martinsville Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race that weekend.
“It’s an honor to be partnered with AARP, AARP Foundation and the Drive to End Hunger program, and to participate in the delivering of this one millionth meal,” said Gordon. “But as we approach this milestone, there is still a lot of work to be done for those nearly nine million older Americans that still go hungry each day.”
“We are so proud to work with the Meals On Wheels Association of America and Aging, Disability and Transit Services in helping to fight senior hunger in local communities," said CB Wismar Vice President, AARP. “Isolated seniors depend on visits from volunteers both for nutritious meals and for the benefits of human contact. Sadly, the staff and volunteers are often the only people these seniors see on any particular day, which makes watching Jeff Gordon deliver the one millionth meal an exciting experience that also helps create awareness around the issue of hunger.”
“The ongoing support of AARP Foundation allows the Meals On Wheels Association of America to empower local programs, like ADTS, to make the case for their valuable services in the community,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals On Wheels Association of America. “We’re thrilled that Jeff Gordon is able to help raise even more awareness about needs of seniors across the country. Together, we truly can deliver.”
"We are so excited about Jeff Gordon and his team taking the time to help us celebrate our one millionth meal delivery," said ADTS Executive Director T. Lee Covington. "We hope that Jeff's participation will also help us highlight the serious ongoing need in Rockingham County, where there are currently more than 160 homebound seniors on a waiting list for Meals on Wheels services."
Last year, AARP Foundation provided $350,000 to fund a research study evaluating costs and benefits of Meals on Wheels, which provides nutritious meals, safety checks and a social connection to homebound and hungry seniors, enabling them to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible.
The research grant came at an increasingly critical time. Over the past several years, federal, state and local funding cuts, increased transportation and food costs, and the lingering effects of the economic downturn have resulted in hundreds of thousands fewer seniors served, millions of fewer meals delivered, waiting lists swelling at record rates, and program doors being shuttered.
Drive to End Hunger is the national effort by AARP and AARP Foundation to help the millions of older adults who face hunger across the United States. Drive to End Hunger is not only raising awareness of the problem, but also the funds to fight it. Drive to End Hunger engages organizational and individual sponsors across the country, and also funds innovative programs with promising results that can be applied elsewhere to prevent hunger.
Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger, it has donated nearly 32 million meals and driven corporate and individual donor commitments with an expected value of approximately $24 million. All contributions to Drive to End Hunger go to support the hunger solutions of AARP Foundation.
To learn more or get involved, please visit www.DriveToEndHunger.org. Continue the conversation or share your story at www.facebook.com/DriveToEndHunger or on Twitter using #endhunger and @Drive2EndHunger.