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

A young volunteer meal packer in South Florida.

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 here two years ago, I was pleased to see how long-neglected neighborhoods were being revitalized, brought back to life after years of decline.

There are living emblems of our heritage in those neighborhoods as well – the older adults among us, too many of whom are struggling with poverty and economic deprivation. Too often we just don’t see them. Their plight has become invisible because we feel too busy with our own concerns.

But their concerns are our concerns. As Booker T. Washington put it, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”

This Sept. 11 we all have a chance to do just that, to lift up those among us who are struggling, to remember them and bring their plight out of the shadows.

AARP Foundation is spearheading A Celebration of Service on Friday, Sept. 11, on the National Mall, at the JFK Hockey Fields between the Lincoln and WWII memorials, beside the Reflecting Pool – within sight of so many of those shining-white monuments.

With the help of more than 5,000 volunteers, many of them members of our own AARP and AARP Foundation staff, we will be packing more than a million meals for the benefit of struggling seniors in the D.C. region. The meals will be distributed to local food banks through collaboration with the Capital Area Food Bank.

Ending hunger could be a SNAP »

Please come and join us, and be a part of revitalizing our neighbors in need. You can register here to help for as little as an hour. You can also come down any time that day between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to join us.

Food insecurity and the overarching problem of poverty among older adults are concerns that have not made as deep an impression on the national conscience as they should have, and to that extent they are hidden problems, ones that we need to bring out of the shadows. You can be a part of making that happen. Make it your tribute to those who sacrificed all on 9/11.

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