BANGOR – During the month of March, in its fight against hunger, Bangor Savings Bank collected more than 7,000 jars of peanut butter and jelly in response to a unique food drive overseen by each of the bank’s 56 branches. The donated food was then distributed to local food pantries that serve each of the branches, ultimately feeding Maine families.
“Bangor Savings Bank recognizes that many Mainers struggle to put food on the table,” said Jim Conlon, president and CEO of Bangor Savings. “For the past two years, we’ve been fortunate to partner with Good Shepherd Food Bank to support their efforts in providing Maine families with food. This targeted food drive was a way for us to involve our employees, customers and the public in giving to their community and recognizing the real issue of hunger in our state.”
Peanut butter is one of the most expensive foods for food banks to purchase in large quantities, and it is one of the highest demand food items because it is protein-rich and contains “good fats.” Naturally, pairing peanut butter with jelly creates the mainstay American lunch – the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Once the request for peanut butter and jelly donations went out, the response was immediate and great, with customers, bank employees, schools and other community groups dropping off peanut butter and jelly donations in quantities ranging from a single jar to bags and boxes full. Welch’s donated 10 cases of grape jelly to jump start the initiative.
Christine Force, vice president of Fund Development and Strategic Initiatives at Good Shepherd Food Bank, was humbled by the effort. “The collection and distribution of more than 7,000 jars of peanut and jelly to dozens of food pantries around the state goes a long way to increasing food security for hungry Mainers. Having a high-protein food like peanut butter available is especially vital to families with children. More than 200,000 people - including one in four children - struggle with hunger in Maine. This simple idea for a food drive specifically for peanut butter and jelly – and the overwhelming response – means local food pantries can continue to keep families fed.”
Conlon also acknowledged local media partners for their role in broadcasting the peanut butter and jelly drive. “Thanks to the support of WLBZ-TV/Channel 2 and WCSH-TV/Channel 6, a large statewide audience was made aware of our food collection effort. This drive would not have been as successful as it was without this advertising help,” said Conlon.
Given the success of the peanut butter and jelly drive, Bangor Savings Bank is already pursuing ways to expand next year’s effort.