With a focus on collecting peanut butter and jelly, kindergarten students at Northwestern Elementary School in Zachary held a food drive in May for the Zachary Food Pantry.

The students collected 300 pounds of peanut butter and jelly, roughly a third of an overall donation of 867 pounds of food items, according to Vince Giaccone, food pantry board member.

Giaccone said the faculty, students and their families donated items the students themselves liked: macaroni and cheese, Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, Pop Tarts, cereal of all types, assorted canned vegetables, soups and meats, pasta, rice, dry beans, canned ravioli, and spaghetti and meatballs.

“One child even brought two loaves of sliced bread with his peanut butter,” Giaccone said. “After all, you can’t make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without the bread.”

Over two days, the students walked the food across the street to the food pantry, carrying the items in their hands, grocery bags or in wagons.

When he looked at the children carrying the food, Giaccone said, he was reminded of “the penny walk” on the Buckskin Bill show, a drive that raised money for the Baton Rouge Zoo.

“That’s what I thought of when I looked towards the Northwestern campus and saw these precious children walking with their gifts to help feed those in need within the Zachary community,” he said.

As an agency member of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, the Zachary Food Pantry, 5640 Rollins Road, receives items from the facility but relies on food and donations of money from the community.

During summers, when students are out of school, the pantry is in need of more food that’s suitable for children, such as peanut butter, jelly, canned meats, macaroni and cheese, cereal, soups and seasonings.

“Of course, we can always use monetary donations, and since we’re a nonprofit, the donations are tax deductible. Plus, with the money that’s donated, we use it to buy the items which are not,” Giaccone said.

To donate or volunteer at the pantry, call (225) 654-0685.