Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS Jeff Gordon joined students from the Campus Kitchen at the University of Georgia (CKUGA) today in their fight against hunger by packing meals for hungry older adults.
CKUGA focuses on providing healthy meals for older Athenians who struggle with hunger and isolation, using fresh produce and excess food that would otherwise have gone to waste on campus. This year they are one of ten Campus Kitchens supported by a Senior Hunger Outreach grant, made possible through a partnership between the national Campus Kitchens Project and AARP Foundation. This grant is empowering Campus Kitchens across the country to increase their meal production and design new programmatic initiatives that will combat isolation and engage their older adult clients.
Today, as part of AARP’s and AARP Foundation’s Drive to End Hunger, Gordon sliced strawberries for a fruit salad and helped CKUGA student volunteers pack meals and deliver food through the ACCA’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program.
Nearly nine million Americans age 50 and older face the threat of hunger. AARP and AARP Foundation created Drive to End Hunger 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 Gordon.
What’s the connection between CKUGA and AARP, you ask? “The Campus Kitchens Project embodies the exact kind of work we wanted to support with Drive to End Hunger,” said AARP Foundation president Jo Ann Jenkins. “By engaging students to help collect, cook and deliver meals to older Americans in need, Campus Kitchens are not only helping put food on the table in the short term, but they’re also nurturing a new group of lifelong leaders who apply that passion and vision to helping others in their home communities after they graduate.”
The relationship between The Campus Kitchens Project and AARP Foundation is one that has empowered our Campus Kitchens, like CKUGA, to serve over 30,000 meals to older adults so far this year. What’s more, the partnership allows our students to develop engaging programs that will address the underlying root cases of senior hunger, such as isolation, reduced mobility and lack of access to healthy food.