Plano mayor leads peanut butter drive challenge

The North Texas Food Bank  is once again leading the annual Spread the Hope Peanut Butter Drive as part of Hunger Action Month. The food drive runs throughout September. Organizers say the goal is to collect 500,000 pounds of peanut butter, both physically and through online donations, to help feed North Texans facing hunger.

“Inflation is hitting families hard, and we have seen a record level increase in the need for nutritious food in the North Texas area over the past several months,”  Trisha Cunningham, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank, said. “This annual peanut butter drive could not have come at a better time with the impact of rising prices and children starting back to school, and it will help us tremendously in providing for those who need us most right now.”

This drive brings together cities, neighborhoods, corporations and organizations to collect jars of peanut butter that can then be distributed through the North Texas Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids backpack program and its feeding network of more than 400 partner agencies and organizations. Peanut butter was chosen because it is a healthy, kid-friendly, and shelf-stable item that makes it an important component of nutritional charitable food assistance.

This year the North Texas Food Bank has expanded the drive to include all 13 counties that the North Texas Food Bank serves. Plano Mayor, John Muns has challenged mayors across North Texas in a video to support the drive to help meet the 500,000 pound goal. The City of Richardson also sponsored an informational video where mayors and council members from Allen, Carrollton, Coppell, Dallas, Fairview, Frisco, Lavon, McKinney, Plano, Richardson and Sachse came together to promote the Peanut Butter Drive across North Texas.

 “The North Texas Food Bank service area has the fourth highest number of food insecure children in the country, and this food drive is about making sure that no children in our 10,000 square mile service area go hungry,” Cunningham said. “Our community can provide hope for our neighbors experiencing hunger through a simple donation of peanut butter. We are grateful to all the mayors and committee members who support this campaign and help advance our mission of providing food for today and hope for tomorrow.”

The Peanut Butter Drive started in 2014 when then Plano Mayor, Harry LaRosiliere, wanted a way to raise awareness of the issue of childhood hunger in his city. Over the years, the drive expanded to include all of Collin County. Under the leadership of the county’s mayors and community leaders, the 2021 campaign collected a record-breaking 347,979 pounds, exceeding its goal of 300,000 pounds, and marking an increase from the 287,000 pounds raised in the 2020 campaign.

North Texas residents and businesses can support the food drive by collecting physical jars of peanut butter or through a virtual food drive. Instructions for how to host a virtual food drive and promote it with friends or coworkers can be found at www.ntfb.org/peanutbutterdriveEach dollar donated to the peanut butter campaign platform is used by the NTFB to purchase peanut butter for a North Texas family facing hunger. Physical 16-ounce plastic jars of any brand of peanut or any other nut butter can be delivered to the North Texas Food Bank’s Perot Family Campus in Plano at 3677 Mapleshade Lane. Attendees at the State Fair of Texas this year also have an opportunity to participate by bringing two jars of peanut butter on opening day for discounted admission.

The peanut butter collected in this campaign is a significant contribution toward NTFB’s food goal of its Nourish North Texas campaign, which includes raising $300M in donated food products by the end of June 2023. Due to the increased need in North Texas along with supply chain issues, the NTFB had to purchase significantly more food over the last two years compared to pre-pandemic levels, and offsetting this cost is critical.

For more information on how to participate in the annual Spread the Hope Peanut Butter Drive go to www.ntfb.org/peanutbutterdrive.

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