Daniel Nemet was the middleman for Wednesday’s peanut butter and jelly operation. The 13-year-old sat between two peanut "butterers," and it was his job to slap the jelly on the middle of the sandwich.
"The jelly goes in the middle so it doesn’t seep through," said Nemet, an eighth-grader at Supai Middle School.
This is the fifth year students at the East Valley Jewish Community Center in Tempe made hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless.
With their plastic gloves and many of their shirts covered in peanut butter, the 45 second- to ninth-graders and 10 counselors made about 500 sandwiches in about an hour Wednesday.
Jessica Teiman, an eighth-grader at Centennial Middle School, was a creamy peanut "butterer."
"We’re helping other people," said Jessica, 12. "We need to help people who need help and realize how lucky we are."
Students and counselors sat at three tables busily making the sandwiches. The finished sandwiches were then carried over in large piles to the fourth table where second-graders and counselors individually bagged the sandwiches.
Justin Andell, a third-grader at the East Valley Jewish Community Center Day School, estimated he made about 50 sandwiches. He also was a peanut "butterer."
"Some people are less fortunate," said Justin, 8. "This is for helping the poor."
It’s all part of Mitzvah Mania week at Camp Shalom, a summer camp at the Jewish Community Center. Mitzvah means "doing good," said camp director Lisa Edson.
This week, campers are collecting toys, food and clothes to give to the less fortunate. Donations can be dropped off throughout the week at the center, 1521 S. Indian Bend Road in Tempe.
The peanut butter, jelly, bread and sandwich bags were donated by the campers’ families, Edson said.
"It’s a good way to give back," Edson said. "It teaches kids there’s more out there than just themselves."
The campers were also treated to a visit from Mitzvah Max, a superhero who stopped by to recognize the kids for their good deeds.
The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were donated Wednesday afternoon to Paz de Cristo (Peace of Christ) Community Center, 424 W. Broadway Road in Mesa. The center’s mission is to feed the hungry, and it offers evening meals every night of the year, said receptionist Frances Encinas.
"Peanut butter and jelly (sandwiches) are the only thing they can take off the property," Encinas said. "We give out peanut butter and jelly every night of the year."
The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are handed out for meals or snacks until lunch or their next meal, Encinas said.
The donated sandwiches will be two nights’ worth for the center, which helps about 200 people nightly for meals, Encinas said.
"It really is a big help," Encinas said. "We love it."
Find out more
For information on Paz de Cristo Community Center, call (480) 464-2370 or visit www.massneverends.org/Paz.asp. For information on the East Valley Jewish Community Center, call (480) 897-0588 or visit www.evjcc.org.