WASHINGOTN, DC — Sept. 11 is a National Day of Service and Remembrance and what better way to serve the community and remember the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks than to help the Capital Area Food Bank restock its shelves.

The AARP Foundation is kicking off its Celebration of Service Meal Pack Challenge on Friday, with the aim of sending 25,000 boxes — the equivalent of more than 2 million servings of food — to the food bank that serves the greater Washington, D.C. community.

Since it started in 2014, this annual Celebration of Service by the AARP Foundation has spotlighted senior poverty by having thousands of volunteers pack meals on the National Mall for food insecure seniors. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the foundation is asking volunteers to pack and ship boxes of non-perishable foods from their own home.

To participate, all volunteers need to do is follow these instructions provided by the AARP Foundation:

  1. Visit mealpackchallenge.org and request a box and pre-paid shipping label from AARP Foundation.
  2. Shop for groceries (safely in-person, or online) and fill the box with their donation of food items requested by Capital Area Food Bank (a shopping list will be provided; each box costs roughly $20 to pack)
  3. Drop the box off at a UPS drop-off site, or request a UPS pick-up. Boxes will be sent to Capital Area Food Bank, which will make sure the food is distributed across the D.C. region.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, more vulnerable seniors than ever are finding themselves food insecure. According to estimates from the Capital Area Food Bank, rising unemployment and poverty rates will mean a 48 percent to 60 percent increase in food insecurity for the Washington metro region. In addition, nearly 12 percent of D.C. households are struggling to afford food.

Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.

Celebration Of Service Helps Feed The Hungry In DC Metro Region

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