Not only are peanuts a healthy snack, they also make up one of the most requested items at a food pantry — peanut butter. As part of National Peanut Month in March, Virginia peanut farmers are partnering with charitable organization Peanut Proud to donate over 10,000 jars of peanut butter to benefit the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.
The contribution is a joint mission of the Virginia Peanut Board and the Virginia Peanut Growers Association. During the month long celebration, seven pallets’ worth of peanut butter will be distributed among the Federation of Virginia Food Banks’ regional locations. For the 10th consecutive year, Virginia peanut growers have donated at least 2,880 jars of peanut butter to the cause.
“We’re always trying to promote our product, and these are the things we like to do, especially when we can help someone in need,” said William Gwaltney, an Isle of Wight County peanut grower and member of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Peanut Advisory Committee.
The donation, which will be distributed through more than 1,500 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other agencies in Virginia, addresses the need for protein-packed items at local food banks.
Eddie Oliver, executive director of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, said protein is the most requested food group among food-insecure Virginians. He lauded Virginia’s peanut industry as a “critical” partner in the organization’s effort to supply Virginians with nutritional food items.
Dell Cotton, executive secretary of the Virginia Peanut Growers Association, explained that, because of its high protein content and long shelf life, peanut butter often is the most requested item at food banks.
“Peanut butter is at the top of the list, and we know it,” Cotton said. “This is our 10th year that we’ve done this, and we just hope that it helps in not only raising awareness for National Peanut Month, but also to spur people to follow our lead and do the same thing.”