For the fifth year, Optima Dental Group is joining the Franklin County Area United Way in its annual drive to feed hungry children this summer.  

Until June 20, Optima Dental Group is collecting jars of peanut butter and jelly to donate to the Union Food Pantry. 

When the school year ends, demand at the Union Food Pantry goes up with area families struggling to close the gap once filled by the schools’ lunch programs. The latest statistics from the Union Food Pantry showed use during the summer months in 2018 was up by about 17 percent. 

The rise in demand comes during a time when donations are down. Jan Brennen, with the food pantry, said the pantry get major donations at the end of the year and in the spring. In the summer, donations are  not as abundant. 

Optima Dental Group’s drive intends to help stock the shelves by asking patients for peanut butter and jelly. Patients who donate jars of peanut butter and jelly that are a minimum of 16 ounces each will receive a $10 credit to their accounts.  

Patients are welcome to donate more jars but will only receive a one-time account credit of $10. Even people who aren’t patients can bring donations to the dental office.

The United Way of Franklin County has been sponsoring “PBJ Month” for 16 years and distributes the donations it receives among all the food pantries in Franklin County. Optima Dental Group specified the Union Food Pantry as the recipient of all its donations.  

Optima Dental Group has been a longtime supporter of the pantry.