I was an active child. My brother and I grew up in an era where playing outside from sun up until dinner time was the norm. Home computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones were still sci-fi concepts back then.
After a few hours of running around I would usually grab a quick snack to fuel the next round of play. My go-to was always a peanut butter sandwich on white bread with the crust cut off.
No jelly, just peanut butter and it had to be Jiff.
There were days, however, where I would just slather some grape jelly on the bread and call it a day. No peanut butter just Welch’s grape jelly.
My friends often teased me. They thought I was weird for not mixing the two together. I, of course, thought they were the weirdos. The thought of combining the two flavors seemed a bit off for me. For years I either had a peanut butter or a jelly sandwich never, the two combined.
It wasn’t until I had my own place and had to make ends meet (you know, be an adult, and pay rent, car payment, bills) that I experienced my first PB&J sandwich. It happened by accident. A roommate was making a PB&J and made an extra one for me.
Not wanting to seem ungrateful, I said thank you and went into my room. I debated in my head whether I could pull the bread apart, keeping the jelly on one slice and the peanut butter on the other. That sounded silly even in my own head. I closed my eyes and chomped down.
“Why was I such a moron and dweeb?” I thought to myself after the first bite. “What else have I been denying myself?”
Apparently A LOT!!
Especially when it came to a PB&J.
I started experimenting. I got chunky peanut butter. I tried a variety of jellies and jams. I did the whole Elvis thing by grilling a PB&J with bananas. I even had a PB&J with BACON (because, you know, bacon makes everything better, and it did). I even stopped cutting the crust off my bread.
When it came to eating on a budget, PB&J was right up there next to Ramen!
Today I can honestly say that I am fortunate.
I have a roof over my head, supportive family, good friends and a good job, a house full of fur babies that provide unconditional love and a fridge full of food and beer. I still keep peanut butter in the pantry and jelly in the fridge.
I am SET!
I am by no means wealthy (OMG…FAR FROM IT) or financially set to retire tomorrow (not even close) but for now I can cover my bills and provide for my household.
Not everyone can say this. There are families in need in this community. There are parents struggling to make ends meet, and kids going hungry or lacking other basic needs.
And that is just shameful. But, thankfully, we can all do our part to help. And it starts with a little PB&J. Throughout May, the Hinesville Rotary Club and the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority have been collecting jars of peanut butter and jelly to give to the Manna House Food Pantry for its summer lunch program. The collection continues until June 7 when all the jars will be brought to the Hinesville Farmers Market and presented to Manna House. If you can’t make that event, you can still drop off the jars at Hinesville City Hall, Ameris Bank, the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce office, Thomas Hill Jewelers, Coldwell Banker Real Estate or the YMCA.
I heard the folks at Ameris Bank are trying to break their record from last year. Last I heard their vault is loaded with PB&J jars.
All you other slackers better step up your game.