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One Million Meals to Help North Carolina's Hungry

April 24, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A nationwide effort to give a boost to the nation's food banks is converging in Charlotte during Race Week in May. The AARP Foundation's Drive to End Hunger campaign is coordinating an effort to package and donate one million meals to the hungry in this state, and they need volunteers.

Tennis star Martina Navratilova is a spokeswoman for the national campaign. She got first-hand experience on the impact of hunger after she participated in a European game show where she was only allowed 1000 calories a day for three weeks.

"I was starving for three weeks. I was miserable. I couldn't finish sentences because I couldn't think. I could get off the show any time. People don't have a choice. They don't have enough money to buy food or don't even have any money at all."

Navratilova says she's seen hunger worldwide in much poorer countries than the United States.

"We cannot have woeful ignorance when it comes to this. You just can't turn away from that. It's just cruel. If you try to go to to any kind of religion they always talk about helping each other. If not feeding people is not helping each other, I don't know what is."

Some 3500 volunteers are needed May 24and 25 to package the one million meals, which will be distributed to food banks around the state. North Carolina ranks seventh in the nation for older adults at risk for hunger.

Kay Carter, the Executive Director for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, says the need is greater than ever as people continue to struggle with job loss as a result of the recession. She says the extra help will make a difference.

"The donations never outpace the need. You do the very best you can to feed as many people as you can. A million meals, that's tremendous."

In North Carolina, almost 24 percent of residents reported not having enough money to buy food in the last year, according to the USDA.

You can get more information on volunteering at drivetoendhunger.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC