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Good Neighbors: Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive spreads love across WNY

Organizers of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, now in its 12th year and running to Dec. 10, hope to collect more than the record 18,000 jars collected in 2020.

LOCKPORT, N.Y. — Volunteers in Niagara County are making the final push to collect jars of peanut butter and jelly with the hope of spreading some love to people and families in need in Western New York.

Pete Robinson's Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive started out very small a dozen years ago at the Niagara County Courthouse where he worked as an officer.

"A small meal can do so much for somebody and that's what the peanut butter and jelly is all about," Robinson said.

Now it's grown to include dozens of volunteers, hundreds of donation sites, and more than 18,000 jars of peanut butter, jelly and Marshmallow Fluff collected last year alone.

With families still struggling financially during the pandemic, and food prices on the rise, the need is greater than ever. 

"That's when miracles happen," Robinson said. "That's when people get together and we decide to focus on helping people, we do our best and we're passionate about that in WNY."

The volunteers sort out the jars and make deliveries to about 40 different food pantries in Western New York. The jars are then distributed to children, families, seniors and the working poor. This year they've even started putting the jars in little food pantries on street corners. 

"People that are working poor, that are almost too proud to go to a food pantry yet their families are starving, can stop at these places," he said. "You can come in the middle of the night, grab your stuff and you can go."

For their efforts throughout the pandemic, the volunteers with the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive were recognized in 2021 by the NYS Assembly as Hometown Heroes, spreading kindness and compassion, just like the recipients spread their peanut butter and jelly.

"Cause that's really what's it's all about right, loving your neighbor," said Robinson. "And if you love your neighbor, you try to take care of them."

To learn more about the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, visit the Facebook page by clicking here.

Organizers of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to the following people, businesses and organizations for their support:

  • Cornerstone FCU 
  • UAW Local 686 and Lockport General Motors 
  • Windsor Village in Lockport owner Kathy O'Keefe 
  • Heinrich Chevrolet of Lockport 
  • Rustic Buffalo in Sanborn 
  • Nashville Recording Artist Nicole Oliver-Illos. 
  • Lockport's Farmers Market
  • Elks Lodge
  • Boy Scouts under leader Paul Gurnett
  • Newfane American Legion
  • Assemblyman Mike Norris
  • YMCA 
  • Shannon Global Energy
  • Moose Lodge
  • Craft Coffee House
  • Wrights Corners Fire Company
  • South Lockport Fire Company
  • WNY Heroes, Inc.
  • Ridge Road Bible Church  
  • All of the participating school districts in Niagara and Erie counties 
  • Ramos and Ramos 
  • Niagara County legislators and Chairwoman Rebecca Wydysh
  • Lockport City Mayor Michelle Roman 
  • Brian, Paul, Ethan, Liz and Frank
  • WLVL 
  • WGRZ 
  • SERV Niagara
  • Niagara County Sheriff's Office
  • The Tattered Tulip 
  • Buffalo Iron Works
  • Working Men Dead  
  • Jessie Jesson 
  • Lew John and Lisa Heltman 
  • Niagara County Bar Association
  • Countless volunteers!

To see more "Good Neighbors" featured on WGRZ, click the links below. To nominate a person or group to be featured as "Good Neighbors," email details to Melissa.Holmes@wgrz.com.