By: Stephanie Grunenfelder, Senior Vice President, American Peanut Council
It's the time of year when things get back to normal for families with children – back-to-school, back-to-extracurricular activities, back to routines. Back-to-school can be a relief for many parents, but it may also be stressful for families who struggle financially, as there are many expenses associated with a new school year. According to Deloitte's annual back-to-school survey for 2017 (www2.deloitte.com), one quarter of U.S. households are shopping for back-to-school supplies, and spend an average of $501 per child to prepare for the coming year.
About 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families. Research conducted by the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 43% of children live in low-income families. http://www.nccp.org/topics/childpoverty.html
For communities across the country, back-to-school is an opportune time to remember those families who struggle to put food on the table. Families who need a little help may visit a foodbank or community food distribution center in their neighborhood regularly, but particularly when school expenses add up. According to research conducted by Feeding America, (www.feedingamerica.com) "Emergency food from pantries is no longer being used simply to meet temporary acute food needs. A majority of the clients being served by the Feeding America network (54%) have visited a food pantry in six or more months during the prior year."
As a result, local foodbanks are always being re-stocked.
The American Peanut Council has made hosting a drive for your local foodbank easy with our ready-to-use peanut butter drive kit. Simply download the free elements for the kit and organize a drive in your own community. Click here www.pb4h.org to view a video of a successful drive conducted at an after-care program in a Virginia elementary school as inspiration.
Why peanut butter? Apart from our own selfish love of peanuts, foodbank professionals share with us that shelf-stable protein (peanut butter, canned tuna, canned chicken, and beans) is high on the most-wanted list because they’re filling and nutritious, but costlier than commonly donated items. Kids relate to, and enjoy, peanut butter – regardless of their socio-economic status.
After you've used the materials provided, please share your successful peanut butter drive experiences with us – we want to "spread the word" and will be happy to share your photos on our site, peanutbutterforthehungry.org. We'd also love to hear any suggestions for making the kit better for other users. Together we can support families in need across our country.