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AARP DRIVE TO END HUNGER IN AREA FOOD CITY STORES THROUGH MARCH 17

GRAY, TN – It’s time to rev up your engines and get to your local Food City to help Drive to End Hunger in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

One in five folks who live in the region has trouble putting food on the table – and many of them are older adults. That’s why AARP and AARP Foundation encourage residents and race fans to donate non-perishable food items or purchase donation vouchers – of $1, $3 and $5 – at 18 area Food City locations through March 17. Donations will go to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee and Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

The demand for food assistance is at an all time high in Northeast Tennessee. “There has been a 25% increase in the need for food over the last year in the state of Tennessee,” reports Rhonda Chafin, Executive Director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, “and our agencies are reporting similar increases.”

There are two convenient ways to participate, either by donating non-perishable food items or making a contribution at the checkouts. “We invite our loyal customers and associates to partner with us on this important initiative,” said Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer. “Food City is locally owned and operated and we see first-hand the needs within our community.  We’re excited to have this opportunity to once again partner with Second Harvest Food Bank and Feeding America to help bring much needed relief to our friends and neighbors,” Smith added.

Nearly 9 million older Americans are threatened by hunger, including tens of thousands in Tennessee and Virginia. “Too many older people in our communities struggle to put food on the table,” said AARP Tennessee State Director Rebecca Kelly.  “We’re grateful for the commitment of all of the organizations involved to help provide food for families.”

As part of the Drive to End Hunger, four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon will be behind the wheel of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18.

Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger in 2011, the initiative has donated more than 5.8 million meals and driven corporate and individual donor commitments with an expected value of $15.6 million. You can learn more about AARP’s Drive to End Hunger at www.drivetoendhunger.org.  Also visit www.netfoodbank.org for more information about Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee or www.faswva.org for information on Feeding America of Southwest Virginia.