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Drive to End Hunger: Help for CA Seniors

June 6, 2011

SONOMA, Calif. - It's an unusual pairing. AARP and NASCAR are teaming up for a nationwide campaign to promote an important cause: ending senior hunger. NASCAR Car 24 will be at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma later this month to help promote the issue in California, where last year nearly 20 percent of residents reported not having enough money to buy food.

Alan Briggs, executive director of the Association of Feeding America's Food Banks, says it's a problem that can't be underestimated.

"We do have systems to make food available to children. Seniors face limits on transportation. They're often experiencing health problems, which add to their financial burdens."

The statistics are sobering. The campaign reports just over 7 percent of seniors nationwide are "food insecure." That means they don't have access to the right type of food for health and nutrition.

AARP national board member George Rowan went to the Daytona 500 race in February, and he says it's pretty impressive to see the car speeding around the track covered in logos promoting a cause, rather than a commercial ad sponsor.

"It's a very snazzy car, so to speak, and it's really recognizable out on the track. In a 500-mile race you have a lot of exposure and visibility."

The Drive to End Hunger campaign comes to California on June 26 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The donations collected at the race will benefit food banks across the state to help fill the pantries of seniors.

For every dollar collected, Alan Briggs says, food banks can provide $10 worth of food.

The campaign website including a schedule of races is at drivetoendhunger.org

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA