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PBJ PLZ! tops $50,000 as crunch time donations surge

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 10:59 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 2:47 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - PBJ PLZ! has now surpassed $50,000 in donations to help hungry children in the Big Bend.

The annual peanut butter and jelly drive is a collaboration among WCTV, Leon County Schools and Second Harvest of the Big Bend.

A “CRUNCH TIME” special - which included a WCTV match of $1,500 - brought a surge in donations Wednesday, as viewers donated more than $8,000 in two and a half hours.

“We’re trying to feed children in our community over the course of the summer and we need your help. It’s super easy to do,” Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna said as he made his online donation Wednesday. “We’re heading down the home stretch.”

Donations Wednesday included more than 2,000 jars of strawberry jelly from Transnational Foods and more than 1,500 jars of peanut butter from local peanut manufacturer John B. San Filippo and Sons. The Bainbridge company donated to PBJ PLZ! for the second straight year.

WCTV’s Julie Montanaro and Ben Kaplan reported live from the Second Harvest warehouse and spent much of the afternoon making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to see just how many sandwiches one 40-ounce jar of peanut butter could make. They used four loaves of bread and were able to make 44 sandwiches with just one jar of peanut butter.

Second Harvest says the need has not subsided and an estimated 16,000 children in Leon County are unsure of their next meal. That’s approximately one in four children.

“We have been spending this entire month raising money and awareness to ensure that we’re able to feed children this summer and the donations that are coming in from this community are going to make sure that children do not go hungry,” Second Harvest CEO Monique Van Pelt said. “Thank you all so much.”

PBJ PLZ! is virtual this year for safety as the pandemic lingers. Additionally, holding the drive virtually allows Second Harvest drivers to focus on delivering food for an estimated 40 giveaways a month.

Leon County school children donated nearly 23 tons of peanut butter and jelly to WCTV’s PBJ PLZ! drive in its first three years. Monetary donations topped $72,000 when the pandemic forced the drive online in 2020.

The current PBJ PLZ! drive wraps up Friday, April 30, with a grand total set to be announced next week to allow for any last-minute online donations as well as checks continuing to arrive by mail.

You can make a donation at this link.

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