The peanut butter and jelly solution

by Kai Hsing

Can a single individual make a dent into homelessness in America? Here’s how a growing movement is tackling the problem – with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in hand.

Homelessness is a major problem in America – it’s estimated that 3.5 million people in this country are without a home at some point during any given year. Here in San Francisco, there may be as many as 15,000 homeless people in the city at any point during the year – giving the city the distinction of having the highest rate of homelessness in the U.S., despite the fact that the City of San Francisco spends at least $108 million annually on direct services for homeless people.

But how can a single person make a difference within all of this? That’s where the Peanut Butter Plan comes in. Started by 826 Valencia programs director Jory John, the growing movement asks participants to gather all your friends to make peanut butter sandwiches – that cornerstone of any good American diet – at least once a month to hand out directly to those in need. A loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly can feed a dozen people while costing you only about $10-20 and a bit of your time.

The Peanut Butter Plan is a wonderful example of how small actions by individuals can create a greater change and how social media has made this all the more possible. In just two months since Jory started the group on Facebook, it’s already grown to nearly 2,000 members, with armies of sandwich-makers sprouting up everywhere from Los Angeles to London.

I met with Jory and a group of volunteers who had gathered for a sandwich-making party and then met some grateful recipients of the lovingly-crafted PB&J sandwiches for this video.

You can find out more about the Peanut Butter Plan by going to their Facebook page, where you can find out about an event happening near you or even start one of your own.