Peanut Butter Challenge Helps Stock Food Pantries Across Orange County
During the month of October, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County collected jars of peanut butter to give to local food banks. The Peanut Butter Challenge, which accepts unopened, unexpired jars of peanut butter in any size, has been simultaneously stocking local food pantries and supporting Florida peanut farmers (who contribute $119 million to the state economy) since 2012.
“Peanut butter is the best product to collect for food banks,” said Kevin Camm, County Extension Director for UF/IFAS Extension Orange County. “It has a very long shelf-life, is fairly inexpensive for people to donate and is incredibly nutritious for kids.”
Final donation numbers for the 2022 campaign are impressive, with 658 jars of peanut butter collected. This is the equivalent of 19,642 ounces, or 1,228 pounds, of peanut butter. The jars were distributed to six food banks across the region, including the Conway United Methodist Church, The Impact Outreach Ministry of Central Florida, The Russell Home for Atypical Children, Pershing K-8 Family Food Pantry, Servant’s Heart Ministry, and Timber Springs Middle School Family Food Pantry.
This year, peanut butter distribution was handled by children in the Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program, which uses a learn-by-doing approach to help local youth gain the knowledge and skills they need to be responsible, productive citizens. In this case, young people are helping feed hungry families right before the holidays.
UF/IFAS Extension Orange County provides education and information to residents and businesses through workshops, publications and mass media in the areas of family life, youth development, natural resources, horticulture and agriculture. In Orange County, UF/IFAS Extension falls under the auspices of the Community and Family Services Department.
“Whatever you have a question about – horticulture, agriculture, finance, housing, nutrition – we can provide the right answer,” asserted Camm. “We look at local problems, apply science and educate communities with peer reviewed, accurate information.”
Camm added that the Peanut Butter Challenge allows Extension to use its resources to do something positive to impact families directly in their homes and in their bodies. “We typically do a lot of educational programs,” he explained, “but this provides us with a great opportunity to collect the peanut butter and not only advertise for a huge crop in Florida, but provide it to our food insecure neighbors.”
For more information on UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, including how you can make a donation for next year’s Peanut Butter Challenge, go to UF/IFAS Extension Orange County.