Real-Life Story: We Organized a Food Drive

A girl's smart plan spurs a community to send in the spreads.

Jars of peanut butter and jelly Photograph by Heath Robbins

The Town
Hatfield, Massachusetts

The Kid
Lavery Greenfield, age 9

The Idea
For someone in a love-hate relationship with PB&J (Today, "I'm sick of it! My dad packs it for me every single day!" Tomorrow, who knows? "I go through phases"), Lavery Greenfield of Hatfield, Massachusetts, can't seem to get enough of the stuff.

That's because since 2013, Lavery has held the October Peanut Butter and Jelly Jar Drive -- her invention -- to collect these two sandwich spreads for her town's local food bank. With major success.

Rewind to September 2013, when Lavery, her mom, Renée, dad, Chris, and brother, Nolan, now age 5, toured the local food bank. Lavery recalls their guide asking them to guess what foods children requested most. The answer: peanut butter and jelly. And that's when Lavery dreamed up a drive.

    How It Works
    With her family's help, Lavery posted flyers around town asking for donations of PB&J. She got her school to call for donations and set up a collection box by the office.

    Soon, the jars were stacking up, and not just at school. "We'd find jars in our mailbox, hanging from the door, and sitting on our stoop," says Renée. That year, Lavery collected 175 jars and $500 in donations for the cause.

    In October 2014, she organized the drive again, and this time, friends at two other schools joined her. All told, Lavery and her friends sorted, weighed, and delivered a whopping 1,009 pounds of peanut butter and jelly -- too many jars to count. "It was kind of awesome," says Lavery.

    Hearing about Lavery's work, Teddie Peanut Butter donated a full pallet (1,008 jars) of peanut butter to the food bank, adding to the total.

    Why Try It?
    "It helps people!" says Lavery. Also, "It's fun and makes you feel proud." Adds Renée: "From a parent perspective, it's easy. You just throw an extra jar into your shopping cart."

    Now You Try It
    Start with a visit to your local food bank to ask what items are most needed, Lavery advises. Then meet with the principal of your school for permission to organize a drive there.

      Originally published in the September 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.