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Peanut butter to Haiti

What could you do with 190,000 pounds of peanut butter? You could make a lifetime supply of peanut butter cookies or enough peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to supply a small nation.

Or, you could feed a nation of people desperate for help. Suffolk-based Birdsong Peanuts is doing exactly that.

The company is sending 190,000 pounds of peanut butter to Haiti through three different charity organizations.

“It’s been absolutely remarkable. We’ve sent over 2.5 million servings of peanut butter to Haiti, so far,” Jeff Johnson, president of Birdsong Peanut Company, said. “We didn’t mean to begin a charity, but that’s what happened. We won’t stop until the need does.”

Peanut butter is one of best foods to ship to hungry and malnourished people. It has a long shelf life, does not have to be mixed with water – which is in short supply in Haiti – and has necessary proteins and healthy fats.

On Jan. 14, two days after the earthquake struck Haiti, an employee in Birdsong’s Georgia branch thought of the idea to ship the peanut butter to the victims.

“Within a few hours, we’d raised $30,000, and a factory we work with offered to make the peanut butter for us at way below cost,” Johnson said.

To date, $98,000 in cash has gone toward the effort. Of that total, $73,000 was raised through contributions, and the remainder has come from Birdsong. Birdsong has worked with other factories to send $285,000 worth of peanut butter to Haiti. Those factories have donated labor, product or overhead costs to the effort.

The company has partnered with Operation Blessing, Catholic Relief Services and Food for the Poor to help distribute the shipments in Haiti.

“These charities say they can take all the peanut butter they can get,” Jefferson said. “As long as we keep getting donations, we’re going to be shipping peanut butter.”

To make a donation to this effort, make checks payable to Early County 2055 and note “pnb for Haiti.” You can then mail that donation to EC2055-PNB for Haiti, PO Box 725, Blakely, GA 38823. All donations are tax deductable.

You can also email donation information to Sally Wells at stabb@birdsong-peanuts.com or Lisa Collins at lcollins@earlycounty2055.com.