The Peanut Butter and Jelly Project began last year when Weiser High teacher Michelle Chavez noticed a need with her students, “I am part of the building leadership team and last year we were talking about things we see in the school. We talked about how we noticed some of the kids are often hungry. I used to do the after school program and remembered kids would come in for a snack. I noticed that a lot of the kids were just coming in for that snack, they might stay for fifteen minutes to work on homework and then leave. We recognized some of the kids just needed the snack. So last year we started a peanut butter and jelly group where students could come into room 17 at 3:20 and make a sandwich”.
Since then on average fifteen to twenty students a day visit her room to make themselves an after school PB&J sandwich. Chavez shared, “Some of the kids are athletes and just need a snack to get them through their practices and some of the kids are students who are just a little food insecure. Kids come into my room and make themselves a sandwich, some kids make two sandwiches. We have peanut butter, jelly, and we have Nutella, which is a fan favorite. And if they want to stay, they can stay until four and do homework. It’s a place they can come after school, grab a snack, do a little homework if they want to or if they just want to grab a snack and run to practice or get on the busses they can do that”.
Chavez affectionately calls these students her “ Peanut Butter and Jelly Gang” and shared that she has enjoyed this project because it has unified many of the students, “I enjoy watching them come in talking while they make their snack. I started to notice how the kids help each other out. Just seeing the social skills being developed and the team work has been a really cool thing to watch". Chavez shared that this project is open for all students, “I want the kids to know that it is available to anybody. Any student can come in for a PB&J snack. Students are welcome to come to room 17 from 3:20 to 4:00 Monday through Thursday and make themselves a sandwich”.
This project has been possible because of the generous donations Weiser High staff have made to the project. “Originally we reached out to our leadership team asking if they would be willing to bring in peanut butter, jelly or nutella. I am always finding random jars of peanut butter or jelly in my teacher box or I will come into my room in the morning to find jars on my desk. So sometimes I don’t even know who has donated to the project, but a lot of the times it’s our staff. This summer the class of 1984 gave us a $200 donation towards our Peanut Butter and Jelly Project.” Chavez herself donates the bread she say they go through about three loaves of bread a day. The Peanut Butter and Jelly Project is accepting donations from the community. If you want to help out the project donations can be taken to Weiser High School front office.