Three Spring Branch ISD campuses were recently invited to participate in a Peanut Butter Drive organized by The Cheesecake Factory at Memorial City Mall. The restaurant’s goal was to collect 3,240 jars of peanut butter to donate to the Houston Food Bank. A trio of SBISD schools got them 2,458 jars closer to the total!
“All the schools, teachers, administrators, parents and students have given more than we ever imagined,” said Julie Greer, manager of The Cheesecake Factory restaurant at Memorial City Mall.
Tiger Trail School for Early Learning, Lion Lane School for Early Learning and Buffalo Creek Elementary solicited peanut butter donations from staff and families at the schools. At each campus, the classroom that collected the most jars earned a pizza party in October, provided by The Cheesecake Factory. In addition, the staffs from participating campuses will receive cheesecake treats from the restaurant in appreciation for participation in the peanut butter drive.
“My son really got into this,” said Tiger Trail Pre-K mom Heather Morse. “The pizza party incentive encouraged my four-year-old son to bring peanut butter to school.”
“Our staff, students and parents are really getting involved,” said Dana Dale, Assistant Director of the Lion Lane School. “I find that it is helping to build classroom communities all while giving something back. We have really enjoyed this event and appreciate the connection that has been made with the Cheesecake Factory.”
The winning classrooms at each location are:
- The Lion Lane School for Early Learning - Ms. Bristor’s class
- The Tiger Trail School for Early Learning - Ms. Acosta’s class
- Buffalo Creek Elementary - Mrs. Tatro’s first-grade class
“We wanted to partner with a business in our community so we could involve our parents and students in a common cause,” said Vidal Garza, Director of Tiger Trail. “Our parents were very engaged with this project. We have a lot of competitive parents who wanted to know the daily totals (of jars collected). We regularly communicated the tallies on social media.”
Jars of peanut butter collected from the three SBISD schools will join donations from The Cheesecake Factory employees to be arranged into a large display in the shape of Texas in the green space next to the restaurant prior to delivering them to The Houston Food Bank.
The Cheesecake Factory Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation supports Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief organization that in turn supports over 200 food banks across the U.S. Each year, all Cheesecake Factory restaurants in the country participate in the peanut butter drive for the month of September. The winning restaurant also earns a $500 donation for the food bank they are supporting.
"Houston is a unique city. Hard times seem to bring us closer,” said The Cheesecake Factory’s Ms. Greer. “This is the first year we have engaged schools near our restaurant. The efforts of the SBISD schools, combined with the donations from our amazing Cheesecake Factory staff, have made this campaign a big success benefiting The Houston Food Bank. This will become an annual collaboration!”
In Spring Branch ISD, a small town in a big city, connections are constantly being discovered through collaborations such as the Peanut Butter Drive.
Ms. Greer reported that her office secretary, Ms. Karla, was happy to know Tiger Trail was participating because she is an alumna of that Pre-K school. Additionally, when the peanut butter jars were being picked up at Tiger Trail, Mr. Garza asked for and probably gained a new Campus Improvement Team Community Member, Ms. Greer!
Cheesecake, peanut butter (lots of peanut butter!), competition, pizza, collaboration and connections all add up to a winning recipe for helping hungry people in the Houston area.