BUCHANAN, Va. – One Buchanan fourth-grader is making a difference in the lives of his peers, one jar of peanut butter at a time.
It started in 2019. Gavin Price heard about Backpack Buddies and wanted friends invited to his birthday party to bring a jar of peanut butter. When no one showed up, New Freedom Farm threw him a community birthday party and 800 jars were donated.
“2,217″ said Price.
That’s how many peanut butter jars he’s collected so far. He counts them all by hand, a pretty ambitious fourth grader.
“Our goal last year (2020) was 1,400 and we passed that and now our goal for this year was 2,000 and we passed that,” Price said.
His ambition is fueled by helping others. All of the jars are going to Backpack Buddies. The program delivers bags of food for the weekend to students who get free or reduced school lunches.
“I’m not just going to sit here and do nothing while all the kids are at least trying to survive, so I want to help them,” Price said.
He counts them on his own, but the collection is a community effort. Price is grateful for those in Botetourt County and throughout the country who have sent jars as they continue to pour in.
“We’ve got the creamy kind, we’ve got the crunchy and we’ve got the honey creamy,” said Price.
People have even donated peanut-free peanut butter for those who are allergic.
Mill Creek Baptist Church uses the peanut butter Gavin collects. The church supplies between 10 to 20 backpacks of food a week to Buchanan Elementary students.
“I thought this is great an elementary child that’s collecting some peanut butter. We had no idea the amount of peanut butter that Gavin would be able to collect,” said Pastor Danny Quirin.
He calls it a blessing. So much of a blessing that they still have jars from last year and plan to use them for their bags this year.
“Peanut butter is such a staple, it’s a good source of protein and something the kids can make on their own if mom and dad are at work,” said Quirin.
The bags also include pasta, lasagna, snacks, fruit cups and more.
Harry Gleason works with Buchanan’s community development and said from 2019 to now, Gavin has grown the effort to not just supply peanut butter for the Buchanan Elementary School Backpack Buddy Program, but now each elementary school throughout Botetourt County for the entire school year.
“Who would have imagined three years ago that a child at seven years of age would have the capacity to understand the suffering of others, and, make a concerted effort to do something about it. It is incredible,” said Gleason.
Every time those students pop the lid, Gavin wants his peers to know and remember: “The community cares for them, we will be helping you as much as we can,” said Price.
The Price family will stop collections on Sept. 1. There is an Amazon Wish List here.
Drop-off locations include Century 21 Daleville, North Star restaurant in Buchanan and MT. Joy RV Sales and Services in Buchanan.