Union peanut butter drive to feed Pierce County kids

TACOMA — Members of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 are once again collecting peanut butter to help feed hungry people in Pierce County, as part of the Pierce County Central Labor Council’s annual peanut butter drive.

PeanutButterLast year’s drive collected slightly more than 4 tons of peanut butter, which was donated to the Emergency Food Network and distributed to hungry families throughout Pierce County.

District 751 members contributed 1.690 jars of peanut butter last year with an estimated weight of 2,696 – or roughly 1.3 tons. That represented roughly 33 percent of all the peanut butter collected by the 35 unions affiliated with the council in Pierce County.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are an American staple, and peanut butter is an essential source of protein for many people — children in particular, said David Henry, a District 751 officer who is one of the union’s delegates to the Pierce Council labor council.

“Peanut butter is something every kid will eat,” he said. “It’s a simple way to provide good nutrition, and it’s something that food banks really need.”

Last year, in fact, the Emergency Food Network held on to the peanut butter until summer. That is a crucial time for the food bank, because children who normally get free or reduced price lunches at school no longer have access to those meals. The peanut butter helps the food banks bridge those months, so the children can still have nutritious and filling lunches.

Union stewards and members are encouraged to bring jars of peanut butter to their local lodge meetings in March – particularly Jif and Adams brand peanut butters, which are made by union workers.

Donations of peanut butter also can be dropped off at District 751 union halls in Auburn, Everett, Renton and Seattle.

Originally founded in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents nearly 33,000 working men and women at 49 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.

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