WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 The AARP Foundation today announced it has established the AARP Foundation Haiti Relief Fund (www.aarp.org/foundation) to aid relief efforts aimed at older earthquake victims in Haiti. One hundred percent of contributions will go directly to help those most in need and AARP CEO Barry Rand announced today that the organization will match donations up to $500,000.
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"The magnitude of the crisis in Haiti is astounding and we know AARP members want to help," Rand said. "The AARP Foundation Haiti Relief Fund gives AARP members and others who are concerned a way to contribute quickly and safely. Funds will go directly to help those most in need."
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and approximately 800,000 Haitians are over the age of 60. Most of these older people live in extreme poverty, have mobility challenges and cannot reach emergency aid stations. Many also are the primary caretakers of their grandchildren. Immediate needs for older Haitians and their families include shelter, food, water and medical attention--including measures to prevent the spread of infection due to the hot temperatures on the island.
The AARP Foundation is working with HelpAge USA and its international parent organization HelpAge International to rush emergency relief to older earthquake victims. HelpAge has on-the-ground experience in Haiti and is the only international relief agency that focuses on the unique needs of older people in an emergency.
"Working together with the AARP Foundation creates an incredible opportunity to build HelpAge USA's capacity to respond in this crisis," said Marilyn Grist, HelpAge USA executive director. "Together we can respond to the special needs of Haiti's seniors, many of whom are the sole caretakers of their grandchildren and of orphans."
The AARP Foundation is AARP's affiliated charity. Foundation programs provide security protection and empowerment for older persons in need. Low-income older workers receive the job training and placement they need to re-join the workforce. Free tax preparation is provided for low- and moderate-income individuals, with special attention to those 60 and older. The Foundation's litigation staff protects the legal rights of older Americans in critical health, long-term care, consumer and employment situations. Additional programs provide information, education and services to ensure that people over 50 lead lives of independence, dignity and purpose. Foundation programs are funded by grants, tax-deductible contributions and AARP. For more information about the AARP Foundation, please log on to www.aarp.org/foundation.
HelpAge USA, an affiliate of HelpAge International, builds awareness of global aging issues among US audiences; advocates for the empowerment of older, vulnerable adults in the developing world; and raises funds to support the programs of the HelpAge network. HelpAge International helps older people around the world lead full and secure lives. It is the only global network focused on the needs and rights of vulnerable older people.