Since peanuts are one of the major crops grown in Santa Rosa County – and peanut butter is a great protein - UF/IFAS Extension Santa Rosa is holding their annual Peanut Butter Challenge Oct. 1 to Nov. 24 to feed local families in need. Collected peanut butter will be distributed through several local food banks that serve in Santa Rosa County.
Bring unopened jars of peanut butter to the UF/IFAS Extension office, 6263 Dogwood Drive in Milton from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Other collection sites in Santa Rosa County include:
Businesses and civic or church organizations interested in collecting should contact Chris Verlinde, firstname.lastname@example.org or Mary Salinas, email@example.com, 850-623-3868. A peanut butter collection box will be provided.
In 2020, UF/IFAS Extension Santa Rosa collected 1,273 jars (1,706 pounds) of peanut butter for families in need. Statewide, participating county extension offices received over 27,000 pounds of peanut butter. The project took on new meaning last year as demand for food bank assistance had increased as an economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest numbers from the United States Department of Agriculture shows food insecurity affected roughly one in 10 Floridians in 2020.
Coordinated by UF/IFAS Extension faculty, staff and volunteers, since 2012, the Peanut Butter Challenge has collected thousands of jars of peanut butter from residents, volunteer groups and businesses in 16 northwest Florida counties. The Florida Peanut Producers Association and Florida Peanut Federation generously contribute pallets of peanut butter every year!
“We are always impressed and touched by the communities’ grassroots support for this program,” said Libbie Johnson, agricultural agent for UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County and co-organizer of the challenge since its inception. “The peanut industry is a great contributor to our state, but this event also shows how the nutritious food it produces can help our fellow community members who may be struggling.”
For questions, contact Mary Salinas, 850-623-3868 or Chris Verlinde, 850-623-3868 or to join or partner with Santa Rosa County's collection this year, call 850-777-7884.