It’s peanut butter jelly time! The Catholic Student Association (CSA) at Southwestern University is inviting students to participate in a peanut butter and jelly drive on campus to assist the elderly in need. “[The idea for the drive] started when somebody from St. Helen’s Parish just down the road contacted me asking if we wanted to do a service project for Meals on Wheels,” Daniel Bauer, senior and active member of CSA, said.
What started as as post-World War II program serving seven poverty-stricken veterans in Britain has now grown to be the oldest and largest organization within the United States providing meals to the needy. While many organizations aim to assist the needs of women and children, the elderly are an often forgotten demographic in the United States. According to research conducted by the University of Kentucky, an estimated 5.4 million elderly Americans currently suffer food insecurities of varying degrees.
However, it is estimated that by 2025, 9.5 million will suffer from food insecurities – a nearly 75 percent increase. The Economic Research Service (ERS) of the USDA has defined food security as, minimally, the “ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and the assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (that is, without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies).” Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are both inexpensive and nutritionally adequate.
As an added bonus, peanut butter and jelly both have an expiration period of about five months. Rather than lunch meats or cheese, peanut butter and jelly will make dozens of sandwiches over long periods of time. “They wanted to collect 165 jars of peanut butter and 165 jars of jelly,” Bauer said of the drive. “I talked to CSA, and they thought it was a great idea. I then contacted Student Activities to ask how exactly they thought we should go about setting it up. They told us to set up boxes in the different residence halls, and that’s what we ended up doing.”
Due to the success of previous drives here on campus, Bauer and the rest of the Catholic Student Association are enthusiastic about the potential success for the remainder of the drive, which will last approximately one more week. “I’ve seen other organizations do canned food drives and things like that, and I know that previous food drives have worked out really well,” Bauer said. “I know that the people on this campus really care about community service and are very generous people. So I would just appreciate if they would come through with their generosity just as much as they’ve come through for the others.” For further information about the Wheels on Meals Program, please visit www.mowaa.org. For more information on the drive here on campus, contact Daniel Bauer.