Peanut butter rally helps tackle childhood food insecurity in the stateline

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Gerber Collision and Glass and the Rock River Valley Food Pantry came together Friday to wrap up their annual Peanut Butter Rally.

“It is a wonderful outlet for needy children that are out there,” says Gerber General Manager Brian O’Reilly. “They have a lot more support during the school year, but in the summer time there is a lot more of a void there. This is just one of our avenues to try and fill that void and to help the pantry out.”

Twelve years ago, Gerber collected 1,000 jars of peanut butter. This year they are pushing 20,000.

“They have gotten a tremendous response from their customers, vendors and their stores in the area to support this event and make sure that no child goes hungry this summer,” says RRV Pantry Executive Director Kim Adams-Bakke.

The pantry wants to give one jar of peanut butter a month to families in need during the summer months. It is a time when school is out of session and free school meals are not offered.

“Thirty-eight percent of all of our clients are children,” says Adams-Bakke. ”Our goal is to make sure every child has a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner during their summer months when school is out.”

So why peanut butter?

“Peanut butter is a staple,” says RRV Pantry Board Member Jess Hunley. “It is very nutritious. It is dense. It is filling. You can use it in so many different ways.”

Though the drive is over for the summer, the initiative does not stop here.

“You can definitely think of peanut butter as a staple that can be donated throughout the year,” says Hunley.

For more information on how you can help donate, visit their website.