Pass the Peanut Butter!

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January 24, 2019 By: Tina Mortimer Category: Hunger Stories

Peanut butter has long been a staple of many Americans’ diets. So much so, in fact, it even has its own day: January 24th. Peanut butter is not only tasty, it’s nutritious and has a relatively long shelf-life, making it a valuable commodity in food pantries and food shelves across the country.

“Peanut Butter is packed with protein to help build strong muscles and fat to keep you feeling full,” said Kristen Williamson, registered dietician with Second Harvest Heartland. “The great thing is, it only takes about two tablespoons to reap the benefits!”

With all its positive attributes, it’s no wonder peanut butter is one of the most requested items at food shelves and pantries. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the costliest items to keep on shelves.

Sara Diel is assistant manager of Emergency Community Help Organization (ECHO), an organization that provides emergency food assistance to people in Blue Earth County and North Mankato.

“Peanut butter is high in protein and magnesium, relatively non-perishable and fairly versatile,” she said. “It is also one of the higher priced items to keep in stock.”

Peanut butter is offered at the organization’s food shelf as part of the standard staples that visitors may choose from once a month. A favorite among kids, peanut butter is also distributed weekly during ECHO’s Summer Feeding Program, a program that provides weekly supplemental food packages to school-age children during the summer months.

Monthly, ECHO distributes 130,000 pounds of food to approximately 1,700 households. Peanut butter is one of the food shelf’s most popular food items, along with meat and fresh vegetables.

You can help

At Second Harvest Heartland, we acquire high-demand food items from a variety of sources for the over 1,000 agencies and food shelves we partner with to feed our hungry neighbors.

You can help us provide more protein-rich foods like peanut butter to the one in eight kids facing hunger through hosting a virtual drive. Find out more about how you can help today!

In honor of National Peanut Butter Day, here are some fun facts about everyone’s favorite nut butter.

  1. It takes approximately 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.*
  2. Any product labeled “peanut butter” in the United States must, by law, contain at least 90 percent peanuts.
  3. Peanuts are part of the legume family, which also includes beans, lentils and peas.
  4. Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich is rumored to have been peanut butter and banana.
  5. Second Harvest Heartland distributes 4,100 jars of peanut butter each week to partner food shelves and pantries in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.   

*“17 Fun Facts about Peanuts & Peanut Butter,” National Peanut Butter Board.


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