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Niagara County Legislature 'spreads' the love

For Rick Updegrove, leader of the Niagara County Legislature’s Republican Majority, convincing his caucus to support the third annual Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive may have been the easiest thing he’s done all year.

It’s also the most rewarding.

“It’s the least we could do to help our neighbors in need,” said Updegrove, as he carried a cardboard box filled with peanut butter jars from the Niagara County Legislature’s chambers to a waiting table in the county Courthouse’s rotunda.

He was followed by the 11 members of the Legislature’s Majority as they each carried out a heavy carton filled with golden or purple jars from their desks on the floor of the Legislature.

A chance conversation earlier in the week with New York State Courts Officer Pete Robinson, one of the annual drive’s lead organizers, who often provides security at the County Courthouse, prompted the Majority Leader to act.

Updegrove had the Legislature’s Majority Caucus that the charity — an annual drive that netted more than 9,000 jars of peanut butter, jelly and marshmallow fluff for area food pantries last year — that the ongoing economic difficulties impacting the nation made supporting the drive a moral imperative for elected leaders.

The Republican-led Majority rallied strongly around Robinson and the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, “passing the hat,” in Updegrove’s words, to raise enough money to buy 12 dozen jars of sandwich spreads.

The exact breakdown of the donation was 60 jars of creamy peanut butter, 12 jars of crunchy peanut butter, 48 jars of grape jelly and 24 jars of marshmallow fluff.

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive came about after Robinson discovered that area food pantries often don’t have enough sweet — but nutritious — foods that children enjoy. Responding to the need, the Courts officer, well-known in local circles for his renditions of the national anthem at various civic events, collected several local volunteers and set up donation sites around Western New York.

For more information on the third annual Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, which continues through Dec. 6, contact Robinson at 510-7108 or Tina Sheley at 438-8247, or visit their Facebook group at

Individuals wishing to donate may do so by depositing jars in the blue containers displayed prominently at the following locations in Niagara, Orleans and Erie Counties:

Hartland Fire Hall, A Style Ahead, Salon 9450, Tops Markets on S. Transit Road and Rochester Road, all Niagara County branches of Cornerstone Community Credit Union, Royalton Town Hall, Middleport Village Hall, The Chop Shop, Niagara/Orleans BOCES, Fast Fitness in Medina, Medina Lanes, Roy-Hart High School, Pizza Wings and Things, Jim’s Diner in Barker, Thee Barker Store, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, Lockport Athletic Club, NCCC Student Life, Delphi, Little Lambs Daycare, Lockport Moose Club, The Elk’s Lodge (North Canal Road Lockport), Niagara County Department of Health, Starpoint Central School District, The Fieldstone, Lockport City School Superintendent’s Office, Lockport Public Library, Thrifty Propane & Oil Inc., Mullen’s Appliances, Washburn Market, K.M. Treats, Niagara County Historian’s Office, Department of Youth & Recreation, Papa Leo’s, Lockport City Hall, WLVL, LCTV, YWCA, Miskall, Moxham and Frazier Law Offices, The Hair Chateau, The Village Trailer Park office, The Market St. Art Company and Hunt Real Estate.

Other locations include:

Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier, LJ Hair Design, Newfane Senior High School, The Wilson House, United Methodist Church of Newfane, Town of Niagara, Fuccillo Chevrolet, Bible Fellowship Church on Grand Island, First Niagara Bank (Grand Island), Laundry Lounge, Grand Island Auto Tech, City of Tonawanda (Mayor’s Office), Wheatfield Pediatrics, Kidz Express and Parks and Recreation Department of North Tonawanda.

In Erie County, donations can be dropped off at Shea’s Performing Arts Theatre, Hausrath’s Landscaping, Segway of WNY, Bison Turf, LDA of WNY, Chappie’s Pizza, Bank of America (Getzville branch), Sweet Jenny’s, Lackawanna Bus Terminal and Spirit of Truth Ministries.


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