More South Georgia peanuts headed to Haiti - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

More South Georgia peanuts headed to Haiti

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Another truck load of peanut butter and peanut food products left Albany this morning, bound for Haiti. The South Georgia and national peanut industry are donating the food to help in the massive earthquake relief effort.

South Georgia peanut industry leaders said the shocking destruction they saw in Haiti after the January 12th earthquake made them want to help, and they knew peanut butter was the perfect food product to help feed the devastated island nation. But even they were surprised the way the entire peanut industry across America has pitched in.

15 pallets of peanut butter, and four more pallets of peanut food products and water, worth more than five thousand dollars, donated by members of the peanut industry, left Albany bound for Haiti this morning. This is the seventh truck load of peanut butter the group has sent to help the earthquake victims.

Birdsong Peanuts Logistics Manager Pamela Snipes said "I never thought it would be that much. We're talking 3.5 million servings of peanut butter, that's going to Haiti. With a wholesale value of $350,000."

Hours after the earthquake, Early County 2055 in Blakely and South Georgia peanut industry leaders decided they had the product that the people of Haiti needed in desperate times.

Georgia Peanut Commission Executive Director Don Koehler said "There was a serious need there. Peanut butter is a food, no refrigeration. It's high in protein, high in energy, the thing they needed in a time of need."

Soon the big manufacturers were donating their peanut butter or selling it at cost, while South Georgia companies logistics managers and trucking companies worked out how to get the food to charities on the ground in Haiti.

Georgia Farm Bureau Director of Commodities Don McGough said "Everybody got excited about it. As I said, our counties really came together and contributed. We were real, real happy with the results."

Pictures of the first shipped peanut butter reaching an orphanage in Cap-Haitien, and a hospital tent city outside Milot, have made these big industry giants know their generosity and hard work was worthwhile.

Snipes said "When you see the smile on those kid's faces, it's worth it all to know they have peanut butter and they are happy to get it."

Koehler said "It's been a real benefit to them, but I think it's been a benefit to our industry as well. Because it's shown us how well we can do, and what we can accomplish when we all get together."

This truck left for Miami and will deliver the peanut butter and food products, then be taken on a barge to Haiti where Food for the Poor will distribute it. Already donations are on the way to South Georgia for an 8th truckload of peanut butter and food products to be shipped to Haiti next week.

Organizers say they have met most of the immediate food needs for the earthquake relief effort, and that warehouses are being set up to store the peanut butter for future distribution.

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