The Virginia Peanut Growers Association and the Virginia Peanut Board are supporting Governor McDonnell’s “Governor’s Bowl” Food and Fund Drive by donating more than 1,500 jars of peanut butter to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks. According to Dell Cotton, Executive Director of the Peanut Growers Association, the group is donating a full pallet of 18 ounce jars. With twelve jars to the case and 128 cases per pallet, that is 1,536 jars or 27,648 ounces total.
The Peanut Growers heard about Governor McDonnell’s partnership with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to provide food to all of Virginia’s regional food banks this summer and decided they had at their disposal the one food that food banks cherish most. In a matter of days, Cotton and his Board worked out the details with the Federation of Virginia Food Banks and a peanut butter processor, and those jars soon will be distributed throughout the state.
“Peanut butter is the number one staple of the state’s food banks because it is high in protein, easy to store, needs no refrigeration and requires little or no preparation,” said Matthew J. Lohr, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). “If you can open a jar, you can enjoy the great taste and high nutritional value of peanut butter. My six-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.”
Leslie Van Horn, Executive Director of the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, says that more than a million people in Virginia must choose between food and paying bills. The Federation represents seven Food Banks throughout the state of Virginia that distribute food throughout the communities they serve. “This gift from the Virginia Peanut Growers Association will provide hundreds of families across Virginia with an important source of protein in their diets,” she said.
The Peanut Growers hope this donation will encourage other agricultural groups, businesses and individuals to contribute to this drive. “If you can’t give peanut butter, then give other food items,” Cotton says. “The real point here is to feed the thousands of people in Virginia who are at risk of going hungry every day.”
For information on the Governor’s Bowl, see vachamber.com/page/vagovernorsbowl. Information about the Federation of Virginia Food Banks is at vafoodbanks.org/ or available by e-mailing Van Horn at Leslie@vafoodbanks.org. Dell Cotton may be reached at Dcotton25@cs.com or 757.562.4103.