As many people continue to experience the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of the Apalachicola Bay, an increased demand for food bank assistance remains. One ever-popular item in food pantries is peanut butter, a nutrient-dense spread made from a crop heavily produced throughout North Florida.
Since 2012, Florida counties have sought to meet the needs of hungry families in the state by participating in the Peanut Butter Challenge, a project coordinated by UF/IFAS Extension faculty and volunteers.
The Challenge runs through the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, Nov. 25. During this period, drop-off unopened jars of peanut butter at the UF /IFAS Franklin County Extension Office, 261 Dr. Frederick S. Humphries Street, Apalachicola, across from Mill Pond. Our office is abiding by new mask and social distancing guidelines for your safety, but contact our office ahead of time for any questions or concerns.
Become a peanut butter champion:
You or your own organization can help the fight against hunger by accepting the peanut butter challenge. You can host a peanut butter challenge drop-off box at your church, office or home. Flyers will be made by UF/IFAS Franklin County Extension Office with your information and sent to you for your acceptance of the challenge. Please contact Michelle Huber, if you are interested in taking a bite out of hunger, by either emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 653-9337.
If you help - they match
In addition to your donations, the Florida Peanut Producers Association (FPPA) and Florida Peanut Federation (FPF) also contribute to the collection effort. Each jar of peanut butter Franklin County collects stays in the community and then the total amount collected gets matched and delivered to Franklin County thanks to the association and the federation. The more jars of peanut butter collected, the more peanut butter our community receives, the more families we can help fight hunger.
Last year, UF/IFAS Extension county offices received a total of 14,042 pounds of peanut butter, said Libbie Johnson, agricultural agent for UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County and co-organizer of the Challenge. When added to the FPPA and FPF donations, nearly 21,000 jars of peanut butter were distributed to the region’s food pantries after last year’s collection.
UF/IFAS Franklin Extension Office has accepted the challenge to fight hunger - will you?
Please drop off your jars of peanut butter at our office located across from the Mill Pond at the address above, or call 653-9337. If you cannot make it to our office and have a large quantity of peanut butter, please contact us and we will pick it up from you.
This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: Spread the word, and the peanut butter!