Pensacola, Fla. — The Peanut Butter Challenge, UF/IFAS Extension’s annual jar collection for local food
pantries that launched in the Florida Panhandle in 2012, is again spreading statewide this year.
Unopened jars of peanut butter can be donated to Escambia County Extension office, located at 3740 Stefani Road, Cantonment, FL 32533 from Oct. 1 through Nov. 24. Follow along on social media, as well, at https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/escambia/.
Other Escambia County collection sites include:
- Escambia County Public Safety, 6575 North W Street, Pensacola, FL 32505
- Escambia County Farm Bureau, 153 Highway 97, Molino, FL 32577
- Holy Spirit Catholic,10650 Gulf Beach Hwy, Pensacola, FL 32507
- Gilmore Services, 31 E. Fairfield Drive, Pensacola, FL 32501
- Perdido Bay United Methodist Church, 13360 Innerarity Point Road, Pensacola, FL 32507
- City Hall, 222 West Main Street, Pensacola, FL 32502
- Escambia County Administration, 221 Palafox Place, 4th Floor, Pensacola, FL 32502
- Pensacola Beach Visitors Information, 7 Casino Beach Boardwalk, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
- Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 7979 North Ninth Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32514
Coordinated by UF/IFAS Extension faculty, staff and volunteers, the competition among counties – for bragging rights only – was conceived as a way to feed hungry families ahead of the holidays in addition to promoting a Florida-grown crop. The peanut, which is produced mainly throughout the northern regions of the state, contributed $119 million to the state economy in 2019, according to the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service.
Peanut butter is an ever-popular item in food pantries for its nutrient density and shelf stability. 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.
In addition to the community donations, the Florida Peanut Producers Association (FPPA) and Florida Peanut Federation (FPF) have partnered with the project for years. These organizations are based in the northwest and northeast peanut-producing regions of the state and will again contribute to the totals distributed to food pantries in those regions.
In the 2020 Peanut Butter Challenge, the first year the event was conducted statewide, participating UF/IFAS Extension county offices received over 27,000 total pounds of peanut butter.
“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.”
To join or partner with Escambia County’s collection this year, call (850) 475-5230.