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Albany food bank gets 10,000 jars of peanut butter

Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission, looks at jars of peanut butter delivered to the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia's warehouse Tuesday. The GPC delivered more than 10,000 jars of peanut butter to the warehouse in a mission to help feed the hungry.

Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission, looks at jars of peanut butter delivered to the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia's warehouse Tuesday. The GPC delivered more than 10,000 jars of peanut butter to the warehouse in a mission to help feed the hungry.

ALBANY, Ga. — Georgia Peanut farmers, who have enjoyed bountiful crops over the last few years, are giving back in a big way, donating tons of peanut butter to food banks in peanut-producing states as they work to help curb hunger in the South.

Gregg Grimsley, of Peanut Proud Peanut Butter; Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission, and Don Koehler, the commission's executive director, escorted to Albany Tuesday the first of three loads of peanut butter headed to food banks across the South.

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Each of the three shipments will deliver a total of 30,000 jars of peanut butter to food banks in Albany, Tallahassee and Montgomery, Ala., Grimsley said.

"This is an effort of the entire peanut industry," Grimsley told reporters Tuesday. "Peanut butter is almost the perfect food. It's filled with plant protein, vitamins and nutrients that can sustain those who are hungry. Something like this is gold for food banks."

The "Peanut Proud" label of peanut butter is produced in Albany by Tara Foods and is made from peanuts grown in Southwest Georgia, north Florida and parts of Alabama, Grimsley said.

Morris, a peanut farmer in Irwin County, said that peanut farmers donated tons of peanuts and almost as much cash and time to the cause, and are making strides to ensure that people in this part of the country don't go hungry.

"We're excited about our product being used to help feed the people of our area," Morris said. "Georgia farmers have donated tons of peanuts to the cause."

Koehler said that Georgia-grown peanuts are some of the best in the country, an affordable and nutritional staple for Americans.

"You can eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a glass of milk for the rest of your life and you'll never go malnourished," Koehler said. "Last year, half of the U.S. peanut crop came from Georgia so it's only fitting to do this."

Grimsley says that the growers and the GPC have a goal of shipping three more loads by the end of the year to food banks across the Southeast — a goal that isn't cheap.

"We're trying to do this in our own backyards, but we need donations and funding," Grimsley said. "We have enough money to get two more loads shipped. That'll bring us up to three and our goal is to have six by the end of the year."