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Springfield, IL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Addressing community health

Description: A new online order system and optional curbside pickup at Springfield's Old Capitol Farmers Market reduced shoppers' risk of COVID-19 exposure. The improvements ensured that older adults and SNAP users could access fresh and healthy food from the popular market. Downtown Springfield Inc. replaced SNAP tokens with Healthy Ways scannable cards, which limit the need for physical contact at checkout. Following the change, the market saw an increase in SNAP transactions. In addition, more than 150 community members took advantage of the curbside option, which reduced in-person foot traffic and provided a safe shopping alternative to those most at risk.

Thurston County, WA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Garden Raised Bounty installed 21 home gardens throughout Thurston County, giving the recipients access to healthy food and community connections. The organization adapted half of the gardens to meet accessibility needs and customized all of the gardens for specific recipients. Garden Raised Bounty also provided growing guides, online tutorials, seeds or starter plants, recipes and one-on-one support to ensure each garden's success. Its goal was to increase food security and provide for the mental and physical well-being of its recipients, many of whom reported the project had a positive impact on their communities and lives.

Dryden, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Trails

Description: To encourage people to use the Dryden Rail Trail, the Town of Dryden set out to provide resting places and information along the trail. They installed seven benches and three kiosks along the 2.9-mile path, which connects the villages of Dryden and Freeville. The kiosks display maps, trail rules and more. Today, the Town Recreation Department offers intergenerational programming on the trail, including fitness walks, bike outings and community running events.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Portland, ME

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2022

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: This project piloted an age-friendly business designation in Portland. The designation encourages local businesses to adopt practices that accommodate older adult customers. Participating businesses receive a certificate, as well as window decals advertising their status as an age-friendly business. Additionally, the Ramp Up for Accessibility project provided portable ramps and wireless doorbells to locations that are open to the public.

Portland, OR

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: Following COVID-19 shutdowns, Alberta Main Street wanted to encourage residents to visit small businesses in the Alberta District. To increase foot traffic in the neighborhood, they hosted a series of community events. Christmas, Halloween and other holiday-themed gatherings drew large crowds to the district. Additionally, they launched a monthly Last Thursday series, which showcased local artists' work and offered activities for families with children. Organizers worked to ensure each event celebrated the neighborhoods' diversity and culture, as well as its African American business owners. Alberta Main Street hopes future events help shield legacy businesses from displacement. In the future, they are also planning a grant program to help owners historically overlooked by traditional lenders.

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AARP Maine State Office

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Suite 202
Portland, ME 04101
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