In March, we launched Healthy Savings powered by AARP Foundation, a program to make healthy food more affordable for vulnerable older adults — and it saw nearly 1,000 signups in just the first month. Once shoppers register for the program, for a nominal fee, they receive an AARP Foundation Healthy Savings card in the mail and then can download the mobile app. The program helps seniors save money on groceries with coupons for food like milk, whole-grain bread, lean meats, eggs, yogurt, and more. It also increases access to quality, nutritious foods with discounts at nearly 10,000 grocery stores.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve continued to make changes and updates to Connect2Affect, our program to help seniors combat social isolation and loneliness. The new Connect2Affect Chatbot aims to help seniors stay connected — a tool that will be especially critical now while communities across the country are physically distancing.
We’ve also integrated Connect2Affect into the new AARP Community Connections website to ensure even more seniors have access to helpful resources during this time. The site helps users find and organize local volunteer mutual aid groups for financial, emotional, and other support of those affected most by the pandemic. It also features additional resources like AARP’s coronavirus.
Emergency Food Box, a temporary program launched by AARP Foundation in response to the coronavirus pandemic, ensures that seniors who have been identified as being in dire need can stock their pantry during the pandemic — at no charge. We worked closely with our partners to identify vulnerable older adults most in need of emergency food assistance, and through the program, we’ve already delivered the equivalent of more than 1,340,000 meals in 41 states and Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
We’re already seeing how this program is filling an urgent need in communities across the country. When AARP Foundation’s Director of Income Security explained the program to a woman over the phone, she said it was quiet for a few seconds on the other end. Then the woman replied, “I thought I was days away from having to go hungry. I’ve had to go hungry before and I never wanted to do that again. This is like Christmas.”
Our mission to end senior poverty and isolation for vulnerable older adults remains unchanged, DAVE, no matter the circumstance. I’m so proud of the impact we’ve been able to make for the seniors facing unthinkable challenges right now — and that’s all thanks to the generosity and commitment of AARP Foundation supporters like you.
I can’t thank you enough for rising to meet this challenge with us.
Lisa Marsh Ryerson
President, AARP Foundation