Georgia peanut industry teams up to help Haiti - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia peanut industry teams up to help Haiti

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Haiti disaster relief is getting a boost from South Georgia's peanut industry. Farmers, shellers and producers are all teaming up to deliver a Georgia staple to earthquake survivors in need.

The South Georgia peanut industry was busy setting up for their big conference in Albany Wednesday afternoon. But as they were hard at work, their minds were miles away.

"We've all watched the television and cried a few tears and wondered what to do to help these people in Haiti," said Tyron Spearman with Peanut Buyers Point.

An idea to help the thousands of earthquake victims came with a simple phone call. "On Thursday I got a call from Early County 2055 and their Executive Director Barton Rice had issued a challenge that he wanted to ship peanut butter to Haiti from Georgia," said Sally Wells with Birdsong Peanuts.

Birdsong Peanuts answered the challenge and teamed up with the non-profit. "We had all the operations and logistics and coordinates in the peanut industry to make it all happen," said Wells.

What's happened has rolled out as smoothly as peanut butter. "By Friday at noon we knew we had a successful project on our hand because everybody wanted to get involved in that effort," said Wells.

In just a few days, trucking companies, peanut butter manufacturers and other businesses have shown tremendous support. "We've had about $73,000 in cash donated so far as well as another $35,000 in peanut butter donated to us," said Wells.

Four truck loads of peanut butter have already been shipped off which adds up to thousands of meals. "If you measure it out like we eat it, a tablespoon at a time, this is going to be about 3 million servings that we'll have out there," said Spearman.

"Peanut butter being the great vitamin source it is and not only that, the proteins and nutrients, it's a complete meal within itself. So that's what makes us join in because we have a commodity that's very good in a situation such as this," said Georgia Peanut Commission Chairman Armond Morris.

Peanut industry leaders say it's the least they can do despite what some call tough times in the ag business.

"All too often if we want to feel bad about our own situation, let's just look at somebody else's situation. Certainly, we wouldn't swap all the problems we're facing in agriculture for all the problems these folks are facing in this day and time," said farmer and Georgia Peanut Commission board member Joe Boddiford.

With the long recovery Haiti is facing, some peanut butter just might bring some sweet relief.

Georgians aren't alone. The project is also getting support from people in Florida, Texas, Virginia and North Carolina. 

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