Company News, In the Community

Washington Trust Collects the Equivalent of 8.7 Tons of Peanut Butter During 21st Annual Peanut Butter Drive

July 14, 2021

More than 151 tons of peanut butter has been collected to date

Westerly, RI - The Washington Trust Company collected more than 1,000 pounds of peanut butter and raised $16,375 during the twenty-first annual Washington Trust Peanut Butter Drive to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and local food pantries across Rhode Island and southeastern Connecticut. Washington Trust has collected the equivalent of more than 151 tons of peanut butter since launching the drive in 2001.

“For twenty-one years, our annual Peanut Butter Drive has been a success thanks to the support and generosity of our employees, our customers, local businesses, and the community at large,” explained Edward O. Handy III, Washington Trust Chairman & CEO. “The need for a family-friendly, highly nutritious food item with a long shelf-life is greater than ever—especially since the pandemic has once again decimated food bank shelves. And while peanut butter is high in protein and loved by folks of all ages, it can be expensive and therefore considered a ‘luxury’ item for families on a tight budget,” adds Handy, who also serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

According to data collected by the Food Bank during the COVID-19 pandemic, one in four households in Rhode Island (25.2 percent) are food insecure, meaning they are often unsure where their next meal will come from. After the onset of the pandemic, the demand for food assistance increased by 26 percent, and the Food Bank’s 159 member agencies are now serving approximately 68,000 Rhode Islanders each month.

This year’s Peanut Butter Drive looked a bit different than it has in years past. Instead of collecting jars in each of the branches, Washington Trust set up an online fundraiser to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank directly. This approach ensured safety for all and helped to increase the amount of peanut butter that can be distributed to local communities based on the Food Bank’s purchasing power. For every $5 collected, the Food Bank can secure 5 jars of peanut butter for families in need.

To kick off the fundraiser, Washington Trust employees raised more than $7,000 during an annual employee appreciation event, easily surpassing their original goal of $5,000. Customers and community members were also invited to donate online or to donate jars of peanut butter directly to any of Washington Trust’s local hunger relief agency partners.

Several local companies also stepped up to make donations and to host peanut butter drives of their own, including ServiceMaster by Mason in Westerly, RI; Contractor Supply, Inc. in Riverside, RI; Tecta America New England in Billerica, MA; Nuts ‘n More in East Providence, RI; and McQuade’s Marketplace locations in Westerly, RI and Mystic, CT.

Since the drive’s inception in 2001, more than 151 tons of peanut butter has been collected; that’s enough peanut butter to make more than 4.8 MILLION peanut butter sandwiches!

View more company news