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Interfaith Community Services (ICS) is looking to restock its food banks this July with the fifth annual Peanut Butter Party food drive. From July 1–31, ICS is asking the community to “spread the love” by contributing 10,000 jars of peanut butter to help replenish its food bank supply through the end of the year. In an average month ICS gives out about 2,000 jars of peanut butter.

The Peanut Butter Party food drive addresses a pressing need created by summer break. Families must provide additional meals for their children when schools are closed. Many children eat both breakfast and lunch at school. ICS fills the summer meal gap, but help is needed to provide this versatile food staple.   

“Peanut butter is enjoyed by people of all ages and kids can easily make a meal with it. A 16 oz. jar of peanut butter goes a long way to feed a family of four, plus it can stay fresh for months.” says Tim Kromer, ICS Director of Outreach and Partnerships. “It’s also packed with protein and healthy nutrients, making it a great item to put in every bag of food we give.”  

The Peanut Butter Party began as a donation drive in ICS’s 120 partnering faith communities. Now, five years after its inception and with a growing need, the event is being extended to the entire community. Anyone—an individual, family, neighborhood, club or workplace—can organize a Peanut Butter Party drive, then bring the proceeds to one of the ICS food banks. It’s a great summer activity to do with kids, and an opportunity to introduce young people to serving the community.

While the best reason to participate is the good feeling that comes from helping hungry families, the chance to win a highly-coveted Peanut Butter Party prize is additional incentive for groups interested in some friendly competition. ICS rewards both quantity and creativity, awarding prizes for the most jars collected per capita (based on group size), the most jars collected in total, and the best Peanut Butter Party display created with collected jars. Winners will be featured on social media and in an upcoming ICS newsletter.

For Judi Reisman, a member of Congregation M’kor Hayim, the contest made the event more fun, but it wasn’t the primary motivator for her faith community’s participation. “We believe in the mission, knew about the peanut butter project, and our religion (as do most) urges us to feed the hungry and not stand idly by while our neighbor bleeds.” 

Donated peanut butter (14–16 oz. jars) will be accepted at the two ICS food banks from July 1 through August 5. The Northwest Food Bank (2820 W. Ina Rd) and the Eastside Food Bank (8701 E. Old Spanish Trail) are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information visit icstucson.org/peanut-butter-party.  

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