Six communities receive AARP Community Challenge awards

Grants help fund improvements to public places, health and food access and more

The grant will provide more furnishings, such as slide-in and accessible picnic tables and high-seat comfy chairs, for gatherings at the Athens Farmers Market.

Six Alabama communities have received grants through the AARP Community Challenge. The seventh annual challenge has distributed $3.6 million to 310 communities and nonprofits out of 3,600 applications. The funds are used to improve public places, transportation, housing, digital connections, mobility innovation, health and food access and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

In Alabama, the communities and nonprofits who received the grants are: Athens Main Street, AARP Chapter 4668 Central Birmingham, Edward Bell Community Foundation in Camp Hill, Mission of Hope in Dora, Hubbertville Community Foundation in Eldridge and Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Barbour County in Eufaula.

Athens Main Street will use the funds to provide age-friendly gathering furnishings at the Athens Farmers Market, including slide-in picnic tables, accessible picnic tables and high-seat comfy chairs.

“We are incredibly proud that AARP selected us for this investment to make Athens and Limestone County more livable for residents of all ages,” said Tere Richardson, Athens Main Street executive director.

In Birmingham, AARP Chapter 4668 will increase walkability in Birmingham neighborhoods by using walk audits to evaluate trails and share that data with community groups so they can make improvements for safety and accessibility where needed.

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The Edward Bell Community Foundation in Camp Hill is planning a rural community garden to grow produce, which will be provided to older residents.

In Eufaula, a community garden is also being planned by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. This garden will feature five raised beds for flowers and vegetables, as well as three accessible benches. All food grown will be provided to local low-income families.

Mission of Hope, in Dora, will bolster its food giveaway program, providing groceries to more than 1,000 local families, 80% of whom are older residents. The money will be used for needed items like grocery carts and commercial-grade shelving to expand its warehouse capacity.

The Hubbertville Community Foundation in Eldridge will create a community space with walking trail, picnic area and intergenerational playground equipment, so residents can socialize and engage in healthy physical activity.

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