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Not Just for Kids: Peanut Butter Helps Hungry Ohio Seniors

PHOTO: The Spread Some Good food drive in Ohio is collecting donations through Sept. 17, specifically to purchase low-salt, low-sugar peanut butter for Ohio seniors. Photo credit: M. Kuhlman.
PHOTO: The Spread Some Good food drive in Ohio is collecting donations through Sept. 17, specifically to purchase low-salt, low-sugar peanut butter for Ohio seniors. Photo credit: M. Kuhlman.
August 27, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Peanut butter often is seen as a kid's favorite food, but for folks of all ages, it's a very good source of nutrition and is being used to combat hunger among older Ohioans.

AARP is focusing a new charitable campaign in the next few weeks on stocking local food pantries with peanut butter. AARP volunteer Gayle Deadwyler said too many seniors in the state are facing food insecurity, meaning they don't know where their next meal will come from.

"For about 7 percent of Ohioans over the age of 60," she said, "getting adequate nutrition is a daily struggle. That comes to about 328,000 hungry seniors."

AARP Ohio is partnering with Walgreens for the "Spread Some Good" drive. Starting today and through Sept. 17, all Walgreens locations are accepting donations of $1 or more. The money will be used to supply low-salt, low-sugar peanut butter to local food pantries across the state for distribution to area seniors.

Deadwyler said poor nutrition can exacerbate health problems in seniors that, in some cases, can rob them of their independence. Low-salt, low-sugar peanut butter is an excellent choice, she said, even for those with dietary restrictions.

"Peanut butter is non-perishable," she said, "and low-salt, low-sugar peanut butter packs a punch as far as nutrition. It's full of protein, high in fiber and a little bit goes a long way."

She said they collect monetary donations instead of jars of peanut butter because the bulk purchasing power of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks will allow pantries to get more for their money.

"A 17-ounce jar costs $1.32," she said, "and that price would just about double if you chose to purchase it at a grocery store."

Deadwyler said the donations stay local, so the more donated in a community, the more peanut butter will be provided to its food pantry.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH