August 19, 2021 – For the second consecutive year, AAA Club Alliance, which locally includes AAA Northwest Ohio, is ‘stepping up’ in August to help with hunger relief that continues at alarming rates because of the pandemic.
Food insecurity rates, especially among children, have been projected to rise to unprecedented levels during 2020-2021 compared to 2019 because of the pandemic, according to The Impact of the Coronavirus on Food Insecurity study released by the national hunger relief non-profit organization, Feeding America.
Recognizing this crisis, AAA Club Alliance associates have laced up their sneakers for the Stepping Up For Hunger challenge August 9-22, which focuses on wellness while providing hunger relief for their neediest neighbors,
For the second straight year, associates from AAA have joined their colleagues throughout AAA Club Alliance’s 13-state region, which includes Ohio, plus the District of Columbia, in tracking their steps for a company-wide effort to raise awareness for Feeding America and their member food banks that are located in the auto club’s service area.
The Stepping Up For Hunger challenge is to walk, run, jog, or engage in any manner of movement to reach this year’s goal of 42 million steps, a step for each hungry American. This year’s ambitious goal is nearly double last year’s result of 22 million steps, which was accomplished in only one week’s time.
Upon achievement of the step goal, AAA Club Alliance will make a donation of approximately 200,000 meals to Feeding America’s 13 local food banks in the auto club’s service area, including the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati.
As of Monday morning, August 16, halfway into the step challenge, AAA Club Alliance associates have collectively logged a total of 18.2million steps, reflecting 43 percent of the 42 million goal.
“AAA and our associates recognize how the pandemic continues to greatly impact food insecurity, especially for children,” said Amber Zionkowski, Corporate Citizenship Manager for AAA Club Alliance, the third largest AAA club in the nation. “The auto club is proud to once again do its part in the campaign against hunger in the communities we serve.”
Food insecurity has been especially hard on children during the pandemic because of school closures that deprived children of needed free or low-cost meals. For 2021, 1 in 6 children, representing 17.9 percent or 13 million of U.S. children, suffer from hunger, reflecting a 21.5 percent growth compared to 10.7 million children in 2019. With schools re-opening for in-person learning, children heading back to school will find some relief, as they will have access to one to two meals on a daily basis, although weekends typically pose a challenge when home from school.
Ohio ranks 14th in the nation for overall food insecurity rate in 2021. For 2021, 14.1 percent or 1,645,300 of all Ohio residents, are projected to have a lack of access to sufficient food due to limited financial resources, a forecasted increase of six percent compared to actual 2019 data of 1,547,1100 residents (13.2 percent).
The projected 2021 food insecurity rate for children is even higher at 18.5 percent or 475,360 of all children living in Ohio. The projected 2021 number of hungry children is forecasted to rise by six percent compared to actual 2019 data.
This year AAA Club Alliance will be joined by AAA Northeast, as the clubs unite to generate greater awareness of the issue of food insecurity among their associates, members and the public. AAA Northeast associates across their six-state region will engage in their own Stepping Up For Hunger challenge to secure meal donations for the local food banks in their communities. AAA Northeast’s service area covers northern New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
“AAA Club Alliance’s campaign inspires and provides best practices for AAA Clubs and other organizations to take part in similar campaigns to support Feeding America and to help provide meals to people facing hunger,” said Teresa Gruber, Director, Employee Engagement at Feeding America.
The Stepping Up For Hunger challenge is part of a broader corporate citizenship initiative for hunger relief, which includes employee volunteerism. As part of ‘AAA Day of Citizenship’, associates will be volunteering at local food banks throughout the two-week campaign in a variety of activities such as, packing food in backpacks to pass out to children on the first Friday of the new school year to sustain them through the weekend, and sorting food for seniors and COVID-relief packages.
“Employee volunteerism in the communities in which we live and serve our members has always been a part of our culture at AAA,” commented Chris Bartlett, District Director, AAA Retail Operations. “AAA is proud that Freestore Foodbank will be among the several charitable organizations receiving additional support in the form of helping hands, thanks to our associates as they volunteer their time.”
On Friday, August 20, AAA associates will be volunteering their time at the Freestore Foodbank working in the food bank’s warehouse and assembling food packages for families.
AAA Members and the general public who desire to help support the campaign may do so at any retail store in AAA Club Alliance’s 13-state and Washington, D.C. region. For store locations, visit AAA.com/Locations.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 62 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, access a COVID travel restriction map, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com.