December 20, 2013

Spreading the love

After donations fall, group buys 455 jars of peanut butter

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — Volunteers lined up to pack food into buddy bags Thursday morning.

The group meets every week that school is in session to pack and distribute bags to students at Logansport elementary schools. The bags packed to go home over the holiday break contain two jars of peanut butter thanks to a push by friends of the Backpack for Food program.

Missy Iles has been a driver to make the peanut butter a possibility for the 370 students using the backpack program.

The project is “near and dear” to Iles’s heart, she said.

“I want to feed the kids,” Iles said. “If they don’t have adequate nutrition how are they going to sit through class?”

The backpack for food program serves students at Fairview, Columbia, Franklin and Lincoln elementary schools. The program, started by principals Chris Hess and Liz Loposser, is supplemented through the “friends of the backpack for food program,” Iles said.

The group collects peanut butter jars to send home with students over each long school break. There are several factors to getting the peanut butter including fundraisers, donations and drives to make it possible.

After donations fell short, 455 jars of peanut butter had to be bought for the Christmas break backpack. A fundraiser at The Neighborhood bar netted $581 and 80 jars of peanut butter.

The goal is to provide 370 jars of peanut butter over fall break, Thanksgiving break and spring break, 740 for Christmas break and 1,480 for the end of the school year.

The biggest push is to have four jars of peanut butter in each bag by the end of the school year, Iles said.

Steve and Tonya McIntyre, along with several volunteers from Calvary Presbyterian Church, Trinity Episcopal and other local organizations, pack the food weekly.

Sharon Overway, a volunteer, said the program is immensely beneficial.

“This is something I can do to help,” Overway said. “It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it is something that makes me feel good.”

Along with peanut butter donations, monetary donations can be sent or dropped off at Trinity Episcopal/peanut butter, 319 Seventh St., Logansport IN 46947. Checks should have a memo alerting the church it is for peanut butter.

When money is received, all the the peanut butter, if possible, is purchased locally at Aldi, D&R Fruit Market, Main Street Market and Martin’s Supermarket, Iles said. Last year, 90 percent of the jars were purchased locally.

Those interested in donating jars can drop them off at The Neighborhood. Iles said she can also pick them up. Donations for the backpack program can be sent to United Way of Cass County.

For more information, contact Isles at 574-722-2365 or the church at 574-753-2733.

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or Follow her: @PharosAES.