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Meal Pack Challenge

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do?

Your Meal Pack Challenge box includes the information you need to shop for and deliver food to the Capital Area Food Bank. We’ll send you a box and a shopping list with items recommended by Capital Area Food Bank, along with a prepaid shipping label. You’ll fill the box with requested items, which will likely cost about $20, seal the box, and place the pre-paid label on the outside of the box.

What do I fill my box with?

You can find our recommended shopping list here, developed in collaboration with Capital Area Food Bank. Please only pack the food items included in the shopping list. Items cannot be shipped if they exceed the weight on the shipping label provided. All items packed must be unopened, and not past their expiration date.

Can I send items I already have in my home? What about items that are not on on the list?

Please only include items that are sealed, shelf-stable, not expired, and are included in the grocery list provided.

What if I can’t find all of the items on the grocery list? Can I pack multiples of each item?

If you can’t find all of the items on the list, it’s ok to send an incomplete box. Please do not send multiples of the same items. Boxes exceeding the weight on the pre-paid shipping label will not be delivered to Capital Area Food Bank.

How big will the box be that I need to fill with non-perishable foods?

The box is only 9x9x9 and holds up to 90 servings of food.

How do I ship the box?

Fill your box with items from the recommended shopping list, seal the box securely, attach the prepaid shipping label, drop at your closest UPS location or call UPS to arrange a pick up. (Please note: Additional fees apply for UPS pickup from your location). Click to find the nearest UPS location.

Can I still participate if I live outside of the Greater Washington D.C. metro area?

Yes! Anyone across the United States may participate.

Can I order more than one box?

Yes, you may indicate on your order form the number of boxes you are willing to fill and send (up to 3 boxes). To request 4 or more boxes, please contact [email protected].

Can I order boxes for a group (workplace, organization, church)?

Yes, we can arrange bulk deliveries for your group. Please contact [email protected].

Can I volunteer 100% from the comfort of my home?

Yes, you can do all your shopping from your favorite online store, or have food ordered and delivered to you from your local grocer who provides local delivery. Once you have your box packed and ready to go, you can call UPS at 1-800-742-5877 to pick up your box from your door. (Please note: Additional fees apply for UPS pickup from your location).

Why is this Meal Pack Challenge program being held?

Since 2015, volunteers have joined us on the National Mall to commemorate September 11 National Day of Service and packed millions of meals for local seniors. This year, the coronavirus pandemic and rising food insecurity rates mean vulnerable seniors need our support more than ever.

We’ll continue the spirit of service in 2020 through our Meal Pack Challenge, which will safely engage volunteers to contribute 25,000 boxes —more than 2 million servings of food — to stock the shelves of the Capital Area Food Bank. The Capital Area Food Bank serves the Greater Washington D.C. metro area and is experiencing an increased demand for food.

Where are the boxes going?

The boxes will go to Capital Area Food Bank and be distributed across the Greater Washington D.C. metro area.

How can I get involved beyond the Meal Pack?

You can visit or to find out about volunteer opportunities in your area or contact your local AARP state office here in D.C. Maryland or Virginia. AARP Foundation Experience Corps and Tax-Aide are currently active in the D.C. area.

Can I earn service hours for my time volunteering?

Yes. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

I would like to make a donation. How can I do that?

You can support seniors facing hunger and food insecurity by making a donation here. With your support, AARP Foundation can continue to make huge strides in reducing senior hunger.

Is AARP Foundation a nonprofit organization?

Yes. AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connectedness. As AARP’s charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Bolstered by vigorous legal advocacy, we spark bold, innovative solutions that foster resilience, strengthen communities, and restore hope.

Is my food donation tax deductible?

No. Neither AARP Foundation nor Capital Area Food Bank will provide tax receipts.

Where does the money donated to the Meal Pack Challenge 2020 go?

With your charitable contribution, AARP Foundation can continue to make huge strides in reducing senior hunger by helping to provide meals, resources and opportunity to seniors all over the country.

I am one of those struggling older adults. How can I get help?

Please visit our website, where you will find information about all the programs we provide to help vulnerable older adults. In addition to these resources, you can contact the AARP state offices in D.C., Maryland or Virginia to learn about the resources that are available in your area.

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