Facebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Thurston County Would you like to help the local food banks gear up for summer, while having some fun at work? Start a food drive challenge!A large number of children in Thurston County receive subsidized breakfast and lunch at school. During the summer, they are more likely to go hungry. Area food banks encourage donations of peanut butter to help families while school is out—it doesn’t need refrigeration, it’s easy for kids to make sandwiches with, and it provides a good source of protein. And, of course, jam and jelly go with peanut butter.To help out, the Thurston County Public Works Department will be holding an internal Peanut Butter Challenge from April 6 to May 15. The good-natured competition will determine which division within the department can collect the most peanut butter and jam. The winning team will receive bragging rights, a root beer float party and a fun trophy.A similar effort in 2010 netted over 1,000 jars, which the Thurston County Food Bank (TCFB) distributed countywide. Public Works Director Ramiro Chavez, who joined the department in last August, is hoping to make the Peanut Butter Challenge an annual springtime food drive event for the department, and encourages other businesses and local governments to hold similar food drives. And it certainly doesn’t have to be just peanut butter—TCFB needs a variety of foods for summer and weekend programs, which include:FORKids school backpack meal program which helps hungry, homeless children. Two days’ worth of kid friendly foods are provided on Fridays at area elementary schools. Summer School Lunch Program, under the umbrella of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, provides sack lunches to children in collaboration with local service providers. Summer Mobile Meal Pilot Program, funded by local donations, provides sack lunches to children living in low-income neighborhoods.TCFB serves 15,000 families annually through a variety of programs. These families include 47,000 individuals, half of which are children. Last year the number of visits increased 20 percent to 284,000. The food bank distributed 6 million pounds of food, which included locally-sourced food and federal food products.So start your own challenge this spring, and share your organization’s efforts on the Facebook pages of the Thurston County Food Bank or Waste Less Food—Thurston Solid Waste. TCFB can provide sample emails and flyers for you to use, as well as collection bins in a variety of sizes. Please contact Fran Potasnik with TCFB at (360) 754-5703 or firstname.lastname@example.org.