May 23, 2019 More than 130 tons of peanut butter has been collected to date Westerly, RI - The Washington Trust Company collected approximately 6,800 pounds, or 3.4 tons of peanut butter (and 300 jars of jelly) during the nineteenth annual Washington Trust Peanut Butter Drive to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and 12 local food pantries across Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut. Washington Trust has collected more than 260,000 pounds, or 130 tons of peanut butter since launching the drive in 2001. “Our employees have kept up this tradition for nineteen years - working alongside their communities, local businesses, schools, and nonprofit organizations to collect peanut butter for families in need,” explained Edward O. Handy III, Washington Trust Chairman & CEO. “Peanut butter can be expensive for families and is one of the most sought-after items at food pantries. One jar can make 16 sandwiches for a hungry family. That means that the 130 tons we’ve collected is enough peanut butter to make more than 4.1 million peanut butter sandwiches,” adds Handy, who also serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 12.4 percent of Rhode Islanders (54,200 households) are food insecure, meaning they are often unsure where their next meal will come from due to a lack of resources. The Peanut Butter Drive helps to fill that need. Peanut butter has a long shelf life and is a versatile superfood with seven grams of protein in one serving and 30 nutrients and phytonutrients. This year’s Drive kicked off with more than 2,600 pounds of peanut butter collected at an employee appreciation event in February. Washington Trust employees were responsible for much of the collection effort, as were public donations to peanut butter collection bins located in each of the Bank’s 23 branches. Local businesses and schools that supported the 2019 Drive included the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School; ServiceMaster by Mason; Providence Business News; Worldpay; and the Saint Philomena School in Portsmouth, RI. Washington Trust donated peanut butter to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank as well as local food pantries including Comprehensive Community Action Program (Cranston); Coventry Food Bank; Good Neighbors Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry and Day Shelter (Riverside); Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale; Jonnycake Center of Westerly; New Hope Chapel (Richmond); North Kingstown Food Pantry; Operation Stand Down (Johnston); Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center; Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need (Charlestown); Tri-County Community Action Agency (Johnston); and The WARM Center (Westerly).