BANGOR — Bangor Savings Bank collected recently thousands of jars of an American staple for Maine food banks and pantries through its annual Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive.
During the month of March — National Peanut Month — generous Mainers brought 5,846 jars to the 57 Bangor Savings Bank branches located throughout the state. To encourage participation, the bank issued a challenge on its social media sites and contributed another 1,121 jars — one for every new “like” and “follow.”
Bank employees have begun distributing the food, delivering 1,200 jars of peanut butter to food pantries in Lincoln, Old Town, Bangor, Augusta and Portland.
“Bangor Savings Bank recognizes that many Mainers struggle to put food on the table,” said Jim Conlon, President and CEO of Bangor Savings, in a press release. “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.” Another advantage of peanut butter is its long shelf life, which means food banks can stock and store jars of peanut butter for months. 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, local businesses and other community groups dropping off peanut butter and jelly donations in quantities ranging from a single jar to bags and boxes full, Conlon said.
“Bangor Savings Bank has found a way to bring the community together around hunger relief in a fun and impactful way,” said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “Many Maine families will benefit from having this healthy staple in their pantry in the coming months. At a time when 15 percent of Maine households lack access to enough nutritious food, this support from Bangor Savings Bank is crucial.”
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.