For the past five years, thousands of volunteers have joined the AARP Foundation on the National Mall to commemorate a National Day of Service on September 11.  The volunteers packed millions of meals for local seniors struggling to put food on the table, pay for housing and make ends meet.  This year, on the September 11th National Day of Service, the AARP Foundation reports it will kick off its Meal Pack Challenge – “one that invites volunteers to pack meals safely at home and send them to the Capital Area Food Bank for distribution.  We need your support.

“Because of the pandemic, food insecurity is increasing all over the country and in our own backyard.  Our longtime meal-pack recipient, the Capital Area Food Bank, estimates that rising unemployment and poverty will increase food insecurity by 48% – 60% in the Washington Metro Region.”

According to the AARP Foundation, the Meal Pack Challenge “is a chance for all of us to safely give back to the community and help struggling older neighbors.  On Connect2Affect.org, volunteers who visit the campaign webpage — which goes live in early September — will find a shopping list created by the Capital Area Food Bank for food items they need. Volunteers can request a packing box with a prepaid shipping label, which will be delivered to their homes.  For those interested in sharing their participation on social media, we are using the hashtags:  #HungerHero and #MealPackChallenge. After the box is packed, it can be dropped off at a UPS pick-up location – or even the volunteers’ front door – where it will be directly shipped to the Capital Area Food Bank.

“This is a great way to stay safe and still make a difference.

“The Meal Pack Challenge timeframe coincides with National Good Neighbor Day (September 28th). It’s the perfect time to help our neighbors in need. In addition to the Meal Pack Challenge, we will provide no-cost virtual volunteer opportunities on Connect2Affect.org.”

If you have any questions, email MealPackChallenge@aarp.org.

To order your meal pack boxes, use this link: https://tinyurl.com/MealPackChallenge.

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