Need is there for food banks

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

by Dell Cotton

The other day I read another of the too-frequent articles talking about the fact that our food banks are being asked to do more with less.

The number of people turning to food banks for assistance is growing considerably. Due to the economy, donations have fallen, leaving the organizations in a real bind.

I know, you think Dell is going to once again put in a plug for peanut butter and peanuts. Well, you are right. Here are my reasons.

• The first actually deals with the terrible drought that has hammered the Midwest this summer.

The drought has mostly affected the corn crop, making it very short. One major use for corn is for livestock feed.

When ranchers can no longer justify the price paid for corn to feed their cows, pigs, or poultry, they sell their animals.

When mass selling takes place, meat prices decline. Before long, though, meat prices rise due to fewer animals.

Watch meat prices rise in the months ahead. My point — peanut butter has more protein than any meat. A jar of peanut butter can satisfy the protein needs for many meals.

• While the drought affected the Midwest this year, supplies of peanuts were short last year due to another drought in Texas and due to fewer peanuts planted nationwide. As a result, peanut and peanut butter prices rose.

The opposite will occur this year. A record nationwide crop is expected, which should bring prices down even though at current levels, peanut butter is about the most affordable source of minerals and proteins that you can buy.

As we plow through these tough economic times, do all you can to remember those in need as well as those who are in the business of providing for them. We have done it twice recently as an association, resulting in donations of a pallet of peanut butter from us along with some processed peanuts from Hubs.

This was split among all of our state’s food banks. We also collected donations of over 200 pounds of peanut butter at a Richmond Squirrels game in August. Unfortunately these donations were a drop in the bucket of need.

Don’t get me wrong — any food item you can give to any food bank is most welcome and is important to those in need. Peanut butter is just one item to consider, along with many other possibilities.

The main thing is to remember, and don’t forget that no donation is too small or unappreciated.