A Great Home for Crunchy Peanut Butter

Last summer I was lucky enough to be able to take part in an ambitious local volunteer project. Sage Court in Boulder, which has 19 units for people with disabilities, underwent a much needed renovation and residents were temporarily relocated to a nearby hotel. A team of organizers volunteered to help make the packing and unpacking process smoother for the residents.

As I was working to declutter the kitchen and pantry of one resident I’ll call Jane (not her real name), I was struck by the odd assortment of cans and boxes of food, none of which Jane looked excited to pack.

I suggested she start a shopping list so we could plan what she’d need for the hotel, and Jane told me that wouldn’t work because she goes shopping at the food pantry. And so her shelves, with their cans of hearts of palm, pineapple, and jalapeno diced tomatoes, reflected what was available when she went there.

She had a whole stack of peanut butter, which she told me we could toss. “It’s creamy,” Jane, who has mild autism, told me. “I can only like crunchy peanut butter. They never have it, so I get this instead but then I can’t eat it.”

I walked away from that project with a whole new level of respect for the organizing challenges of people dependent on others for their food choices. And a determination to spread the word that Jane, and no doubt many others who rely on the food bank, would love some crunchy peanut butter.

Tomorrow the Post Office will be collecting non-perishable food items for their annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive. You just leave your donations by the mail box and the Post Office delivers them to local food banks.

This year, please consider adding some crunchy peanut butter (maybe even some extra crunchy peanut butter too) for Jane and everyone else who relies on food banks to get food on the table.

Is your pantry overflowing with food you’ll never eat? Contact Joyful Surroundings LLC for compassionate, creative, and totally nonjudgmental decluttering & organizing services.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. It occurred to me that this annual food drive would be a good trigger for reviewing ones’ emergency food supplies. Not that you’d donate something old and nasty, but if it’s nearing expiration, why not donate it to people who will be eating it soon and replace the items at that time for yourself? Kind of like checking smoke detector batteries when the time changes.

    1. Excellent idea – organized, thrifty and efficient!

  2. Food drives are a great way to clear out the pantry. We have several through the school district and the church in my area, the post office and Boy Scouts also do it. I tend to donate things like canned beans and tomato sauce. I prefer to donate items that are not as processed in cans because that is the way I eat. I love the idea of chunky peanut butter. I will have to donate that one next time.

  3. This really touched my heart. A few years ago one of my friends, who was reliant on a food bank, complained because they would only give her raspberry jam, and she was allergic to raspberries. We should definitely try to mix things up a bit when making donations.

  4. I put my bag out this morning. I love this food drive. A great example of a little, by many, goes a long way!

    1. Yay! Love this food drive, they couldn’t make it easier.

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