Connie Charney understands the power of peanut butter and jelly. A decade ago, she began tucking a PB&J sandwich into her pocket every Thursday and giving it to a needy person encountered on the commute from Morris Township to her teaching gig at NYU. By 2013, Charney had given away nearly 400 sandwiches.
Hungry to do more, Charney—who enjoys sending greeting cards—worked with a graphic designer to fashion a series of notecards that look like PB&J sandwiches. “I decided I could make my overindulgence in greeting cards work for me,” she says. The earnings from the cards help feed the hungry.
Since its launch two years ago, the Food for Thoughts line of cards has expanded from eight to 22 greetings—each with the look of a PB&J sandwich. They include birthday, anniversary, congratulatory, thank you and holiday cards. So far, the value of cards sold equates to about 22,447 sandwiches given away by local charities, says Charney. “Food pantries prefer cash to goods,” she explains.
Food for Thoughts cards are sold at more than 55 retailers nationwide; the retailer designates the donation locally. “I like to empower stores to give back in their community,” she says. “Store owners can select a food pantry or national organization that feeds the hungry in their area.”
Charney still commutes to Manhattan, a PB&J in pocket. “I like making that personal connection,” she says, “to look into the eyes of someone you are helping.”