mustard seed
2,000 jars of peanut butter were donated to the Mustard Seed last week thanks to the Peanut Butter Project. (Mustard Seed)

Mustard Seed Food Bank patrons are going to need a lot of bread after 2,000 jars of peanut butter were donated to its Queens Avenue location last week.

The donation was made possible by Project Peanut Butter, an annual fundraiser that was started in 2015 by Merry Maids Victoria and Island Nut Roastery.

For every jar of peanut butter that a customer donated, Merry Maids and Island Nut Roastery would match that donation. This year, they even had some help from Uplands Golf Club. That led to the haul being their biggest yet.

“It’s been fantastic to see that increase year after year,” says Derek Pace, Mustard Seed interim executive director. “There’s a lot of joy, a lot of happiness.”

Peanut butter is packed with protein, and is a popular item in food hampers given out by the Mustard Seed year-round.

“We’ve always been on the lookout for proteins with a longer shelf life, peanut butter being a big one,” Pace says.

He explains that with school out for the summer, many families find themselves with an extra set of mouths to feed during the week. But it’s difficult to meet demand as food bank donations decrease at the same time.

That’s why Merry Maids Victoria owner Matt Tanner started collecting peanut butter in the spring of 2015.

“We had heard that peanut butter was something that everybody loves to receive in their food hampers, but it’s something that the mustard seed is not always able to give everybody,” he says. “So we said ‘maybe this is a great opportunity to do something.'”

For Max Young, Island Nut Roastery owner, the annual fundraiser is a no-brainer. “We’ve been supported by the local community … so whenever we can pay that forward, we will.”

Pace says that the annual peanut butter drive is a huge help for the Mustard Seed, as they’re always looking for donations to fill their hampers.

“We do take donations of all kinds,” Pace says. Dry foods like pastas and rice, protein alternatives, and even non-food items like toothpaste, deodorant, and other hygiene products are appreciated.

And if you want to be more hands on, you can volunteer for a few hours at the Mustard Seed, whether it’s cleaning, preparing meals, or serving patrons.

“We couldn’t do what we do without volunteer support,” Pace says.

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