For World Kindness Day, What’s Your Good Deed?

Several months ago my parents and I had breakfast at a neighborhood restaurant in Cleveland. After finishing our meal I asked the server for the check. “It’s already been taken care of,” she said. “What?” I asked, thinking I had misunderstood her. She explained that another patron paid our bill and left. “He does stuff like that all the time,” she said. My parents and I received a random act of kindness. And it made our day. Donate to help …

What They Saw in Me

When I was 8 years old, my teacher told my parents that I was failing third grade, that I was mentally retarded (a label used frequently in those days) and that I was essentially unteachable. Thankfully, she didn’t have the last word. Three adults in my neighborhood – a barber, a Methodist minister and a friend’s mother – saw something in me that neither my teacher nor my parents could see. With their strong encouragement and even stronger discipline, I …

Why We Should Rise to the Pope’s Challenge

En español | Today I was honored to attend the White House arrival ceremony for Pope Francis. Along with the president and the first lady, my husband and other invited guests, I witnessed firsthand the pope’s energy and style, as he dove into his much-anticipated visit to the United States. Pope Francis engenders incredible enthusiasm wherever he goes. So whether it’s social media (#followfrancis), politics (meeting with President Obama and addressing Congress) or the cities he visits (closed streets and …

Join the 9/11 Celebration of Service and Help Lift Up Neighbors in Need

Washington is a city of monuments, but it’s also a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive style. Those of us who live and work in the D.C. area often take these emblems of our heritage for granted. We barely even see them as we go about our busy daily lives. I remember, after the Sept. 11 attacks 14 years ago, looking at our nation’s monuments with renewed appreciation, even with a sense of protectiveness. And when I moved …

How to Get Food to More People Who Need It

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced this week a proposed program to improve access to groceries for homebound older Americans and people with disabilities who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program. AARP spoke with Vilsack about the pilot program and food insecurity among older adults. How will the program work? And why is it important? This program will fund 20 eligible entities — government or nonprofit organizations — that will allow …

Boomers: The Surprising New Face of Hunger

The nation’s face of hunger is changing: More than 8 million boomers ages 50 to 64 are turning to charities for food assistance, according to a new report by Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks that provide food and groceries to Americans in need. “Hunger is an invisible problem that millions of older Americans battle silently every day. We have found that the ‘youngest old’ – people 50 to 59 – tend to suffer the most, often having …