When Mesquite officials announced the city’s new Spread the Love Peanut Butter and Jelly Food Drive, two downtown business owners immediately decided to create an additional incentive to participate.
The owners of Windsor Florist and Pieced Together Studio & Quilt Shop will offer anyone bringing peanut butter and jelly donations to their stores the chance to win unique prizes.
The goal of the drive is to this summer provide peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to Mesquite ISD students who could otherwise go without food. Economically disadvantaged students, who have free or reduced-price lunch, make up more than 70 percent of Mesquite ISD’s enrollment.
For Windsor Florist owner Helen Ethridge, getting involved with the food drive was a no-brainer.
“We have always been involved with supporting Sharing Life,” she said of Sharing Life Community Outreach, a local nonprofit that also serves low-income residents.
The drive is similar to what Ethridge has been doing on a smaller scale for the last few years: providing food for Mesquite High School football players.
“I helped feed them for four years on Wednesday nights,” Ethridge said. “The last couple years, I have brought coach [Robbie] Robinson huge jars of peanut butter and I would buy like 10 loafs of bread. After football practice, they are hungry and some go home and don’t have food there.
“This has always been kind of an ongoing thing with me.”
As an added incentive to get people to donatee, Windsor Florist is entering each person who makes a peanut butter and jelly donation at the store into a drawing to win a decorative wall cross.
Pieced Together Studio owner Michele Milligan said she saw a Facebook post about her downtown neighbor doing a giveaway and immediately decided she also wanted to offer a way to encourage people to give to the campaign.
“I am big on helping homeless people and education for kids,” Milligan explained. “I know the majority of our kids don’t eat a healthy lunch or even have food in their pantries, and that hurts my heart.”
Those who stop by Pieced Together with a peanut butter and jelly donation will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate that can be used inside the store.
“Anything we can do to help,” Milligan said.
The Spread the Love drive will offer motorcycle aficionados the chance to do their part, too, through the Mayor’s Annual Motorcycle Ride. The ride, which used to be part of the now-disbanded Real.Texas.Festival., will begin at 8:30 a.m. April 23 at Paschall Park, 1001 New Market Road.
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. the day of the event.
Ride participants are asked to bring peanut butter-and-jelly or cash donations. The first 100 riders who sign up will receive a commemorative pin. Riders will also help lead the Hero Run at the park.
Donations will be accepted at Spread the Love receptacles at city events and at several city facilities. The campaign will wrap up Aug. 19 at the free Back to School Bash at City Lake Aquatic Center. Get more details at cityofmesquite.com/SpreadTheLove.