OKEECHOBEE — Who doesn’t like peanut butter? Did you know, peanuts are a legume meaning they grow in a pod or a shell. Legumes are high in protein, fats and carbohydrates. So, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a great source of the daily protein needed. According to the National Peanut Board, “the average American child will eat 1,500 Peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches before graduating high school.” Another interesting tidbit of information from the National Peanut Board is that “one acre of peanuts can make 35,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” To read more information and interesting facts from the National Peanut board visit this website:
Because peanuts and peanut butter are a shelf stable protein UF/IFAS Extension participates in a peanut butter challenge to raise awareness of food shortage needs and to assist those who are in need. Last year the Okeechobee County UF/IFAS Extension office was paired with a panhandle county affected by Hurricane Micheal. Okeechobee 4-H collected over 386 jars of peanut butter equaling 481.5 pounds of peanut butter. The best part of the challenge was that we were able to keep our jars local and the Florida Peanut Producers Association and Florida Peanut Federation matched our donations to those in need in Escambia County. Our 4-H clubs were limited to what activities we could participate due to Covid-19, but this was a community service learning project that allowed any and all clubs to collect peanut butter on their own. The challenge lasted from October to November and our jars of peanut butter were donated to the Okeechobee County Schools mobile food pantry in December where they were given to families along with loaves of bread. This gave families a healthy and nutritious option for the winter break from school. During our December zoom club meeting, youth were able to see where Escambia County was located in Florida, so they learned a little geography lesson too.
The most valuable lesson learned last year with this challenge was to see what one action produced. Who knew that donating one jar of peanut butter would lead to someone else joining our efforts and multiplying our gift? That’s what a community service-learning project is about. Seeing a need, acting on that by participating and giving of yourself in action or gift and watching how it blesses someone else.
This year we are competing in a state-wide peanut butter challenge as we collect jars until Nov. 24 here at the Extension office at 458 U.S. 98 North in Okeechobee. If you are interested in participating in our challenge this year, we would love for you to join us. Our plan is to donate our collected jars to several food pantries here in Okeechobee County so that our donations stay local again this year.