RICHMOND, Va. -- Jeff Gordon's efforts to raise awareness of hunger in America and money to fight it will be aided by a new sponsor in Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway.
Chase Card Services will put the AARP Visa Card and the Chase logo on the hood and decklid of the No. 24 Chevrolet at Richmond and again at Dover later this month. The sponsorship is in cooperation with the AARP's Drive to End Hunger campaign, which this year became the first cause-related primary sponsor of a major race team.
Since signing on as sponsor of the four-time NASCAR champion, the AARP Foundation has raised more than $12 million toward the campaign through individual and corporate donations. In addition, the Drive to End Hunger has provided more than 3.1 million meals for hungry older Americans through local hunger relief organizations.
The effort will be boosted now by Chase, which has agreed to donate $1 for each new account opened through 2012 to the Drive to End Hunger campaign. Chase has limited the donation to $2 million per year, and the company previously announced it would donate $0.03 for each purchase made with the AARP Visa Card.
"Sponsors like Chase make it possible for Drive to End Hunger to raise awareness among countless sports fans about the threat of hunger facing nearly 9 million older Americans, and they support our long-term efforts to help end that crisis once and for all," AARP Foundation president Jo Ann Jenkins said.
The campaign has been aided by Gordon's success this season. His three victories have made him a legitimate threat to win his first championship since 2001, the year he won his fourth title.
His victory Tuesday at Atlanta was the 85th of his career, and moved him into third place on NASCAR's all-time wins list. Gordon's resurgence has put him and his race team back into the spotlight, which has helped the Drive to End Hunger campaign.
Gordon's own awareness also has been raised, and he was deeply moved last month during a trip to the Congo with the Clinton Global Initiative. Gordon has visited food banks as part of the Drive to End Hunger, and presented checks on behalf of the AARP Foundation.
"We're so proud of what we have accomplished with the help of companies like Chase, individual donors and the entire NASCAR community," Jenkins said. "Just last week, we learned hunger among older Americans has increased nearly 80 percent since 2001.
"Having Chase renew their support of this cause by joining us on the Drive to End Hunger Chevy will only help further AARP and AARP Foundation's mission of helping Americans 50-plus."
New research from the AARP Foundation found that 8.8 million Americans 50 and older are at risk of hunger, including 4.9 million 50- to 59-year-olds.