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What does 16 loaves of bread, 90 lbs of peanut butter, and 90 lbs of jelly equal? To a group of volunteers made up of local high schoolers and parents, it equals making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
On the first Saturday of every month, Olivia McGuigan, Lauren Montague and Tess Wallenstein, lead a team of volunteers on a quest to spread PB & J Club mission. At the home of a volunteer, set up begins around 4:30pm and the dedicated volunteers come pilling in and start the PB & J production line at around 5:00pm. The volunteering drivers (a.k.a. parents), swing by at 5:30-5:45pm to round up the crew and head downtown.
After Olivia attended a leadership program for teenagers, she realized that she wasn’t giving enough back to her community, and that she needed to step up as a leader and do something big. One day, she got an idea while eating her favorite thing in the world, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She knew right there and then that she wanted to get as many of her friend together and start making sandwiches. These sandwiches were not for her of course, she could make herself a PB & J any time she wanted. No, she was thinking outside of herself. She wanted to go to a place where she knew people lived that didn’t have a pantry with loaves of bread, peanut butter or jelly. She set her eyes on downtown. There her and the team would pass out sandwiches to the homeless. And that is where it all started.
The PB & J club (a Canyon Crest High School Club) is out on a mission to erase the stereotype that homeless people are labeled with. They want to show the world that homeless aren’t necessarily scary, mentally ill, or dangerous, but rather they are genuine people who may have run into a challenging time in their lives and get hungry just like any other human being.
For the three girls that started the club, they feel like it is a great experience because it gets them and the other volunteers out of their bubble, and gives them an opportunity to see how other people live outside of the Carmel Valley San Diego community. For many of the volunteers, it is eye-opening experience to see how by contributing just a small amount of human resources, anyone can really make a difference and change lives.
*A BIG thanks to Jason Lee Segul for letting us feature his video on this website and article.