Growers donate peanut butter

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More than 1,500 jars of peanut butter are on their way to food banks across the state thanks to a donation from the Virginia Peanut Growers Association and Virginia Peanut Board.

The group donated a full pallet of 18-ounce jars, which equals 1,536 jars.

“It’s always a good thing to do,” said Dell Cotton, executive director of the association. “The food banks are in dire need of food. There’s more and more people going to them all the time.”

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The donation is in support of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s “Governor’s Bowl” Food and Fund drive, which takes place in Chamber of Commerce and state offices.

“We just wanted to do something as an organization,” Cotton said. “It’s very important that this gets kicked off the right way.”

Peanut butter is a popular food for food banks because it is high in protein, easy to store, needs no refrigeration and requires little or no preparation.

“If you can open a jar, you can enjoy the great taste and high nutritional value of peanut butter,” said Matthew Lohr, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “My 6-year-old can make his own peanut butter sandwiches or peanut butter and cracker snacks. It’s the perfect food for small children or anyone else who shouldn’t use a hot stove or a sharp knife.”

Cotton said he hopes the donation will encourage others to give, whether they choose to give peanut butter or any other acceptable food.

“Knowing that we’re in the peanut business, that’s a logical thing for us to donate,” he said. “We just happen to have the perfect food for something like this. Hopefully, we will encourage other people to give.”

The jars of peanut butter will be distributed throughout the state’s seven regional food banks.

“This gift from the Virginia Peanut Growers Association will provide hundreds of families across Virginia with an important source of protein in their diets,” said Leslie Van Horn, executive director of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.

Those who wish to donate to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia are encouraged to make monetary donations or purchase the following items: peanut butter, tuna, canned ham, canned chicken, beans, canned fruits, canned vegetables, 100 percent fruit juice, instant potatoes, fruit preserves, dried fruit, cereal, oatmeal, rice, whole grain crackers, pasta and pasta sauce, boxed meals, chunky soups and stews.

For more information, visit www.foodbankonline.org.