Feed the hungry and meet a challenge; donate peanut butter to UF/IFAS Extension !
If you want to help feed the hungry in Florida’s Panhandle this year, you can donate peanut butter during the annual Peanut Butter Challenge, coordinated by UF/IFAS Extension.
Thanks to a partnership of UF/IFAS Extension and the Florida Peanut Producers Association, food pantries from Pensacola to Monticello will receive thousands of jars of donated peanut butter this December.
From Oct. 1 through Nov. 21, you can donate unopened jars of peanut butter at your UF/IFAS Extension county office. Each year, one or more UF/IFAS Extension agents at your local county extension office collect unopened peanut butter jars.
Since 2012, the volunteers and UF/IFAS Extension faculty have collected jars of peanut butter from residents, volunteer groups and businesses in 16 northwest Florida counties. Last year, UF/IFAS Extension county offices received 6,222 jars of peanut butter, said Libbie Johnson, agricultural agent for UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County and co-organizer of the Challenge.
In addition to these donations, the Florida Peanut Producers Association also contributes, supplying more than 3,000 jars each Challenge, Johnson said.
They hope to surpass that total this year with your support and contributions.
“The Peanut Butter Challenge not only raises awareness about the important contribution of North Florida’s peanut growers to the state peanut industry, but also helps provide a healthy, locally produced product to food-insecure families in northwest Florida,” Johnson said.
Visit your local county extension office today and donate some peanut butter to support nutrition in your local panhandle community! (Press Release authored by UF / IFAS Communications)
Next time you are in the grocery store, consider purchasing an extra jar or two of peanut butter and donating it to your local Extension office as part of the annual Peanut Butter Challenge. The Challenge is a food collection drive of peanut butter from within each of the 16 UF/IFAS Extension Northwest District Counties. UF/IFAS Extension Northwest District agents have been partnering with the Florida Peanut Producers Association since 2012 to collect peanut butter and distribute the bounty to local food pantries in each county. Annually, Ken Barton and the Florida Peanut Producers Association Board of Directors provide an additional two pallets of peanut butter (approximately 2800 jars) to be divided between the counties. Not only does the Peanut Butter Challenge help publicize the important contribution of north Florida’s peanut growers to the peanut industry, but it also helps provide a healthy and universally loved product, made from a locally grown product, to food pantries in northwest Florida communities from Pensacola to Monticello.
In 2014, Santa Rosa County collected 1477 jars resulting in more than a ton of peanut butter for their local food pantries. Escambia County was blessed by the support Helton Farms and Tri-County Peanut Buying Point. Rodney and Mike Helton and Tri-County purchased two additional pallets of peanut butter from Peanut Proud and helped to distribute to Escambia County Florida and Escambia and Baldwin counties in Alabama. In Washington County, the Public Library is doing a “Food for Fines” campaign, whereby patrons can bring in food in lieu of money for overdue fines. The library director is changing her campaign to require peanut butter donations as the food for fine forgiveness. They will collect peanut butter through November 30 and make a joint presentation with Extension to the local food bank.
As you can see, there are many different ways to get involved. Across the panhandle, 3463 jars of peanut butter were donated in 2014, amounting to almost 5000 pounds of peanut butter. We’d really like to surpass that number, so please consider helping us by donating as many jars of peanut butter as you can afford. The collection continues to November 25, 2015. Contact your local Extension office to find out where you can drop off peanut butter.