By Amy White
Special to The Texas Catholic
For the charitable group “PB&J with Love,” kindness is best sandwiched between two slices of bread.
Founded by Madeline Winterle, PB&J with Love is an organization focused on delivering sandwiches, Christmas gifts, school supplies, and other necessities to those in need. Winterle, who is now a 17-year-old junior at Bishop Lynch High School, began the charity as a seventh-grade student at Christ the King Catholic School.
“I was looking for a hands-on opportunity to give back to my community,” Winterle said, “and I saw a billboard that said 1 out of 4 kids in the U.S. goes to bed hungry.”
Troubled by this statistic, Winterle pondered how a middle schooler like herself might combat this problem. Easy to make, simple to store, and almost universally loved, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches became the catalyst for Winterle’s charitable work.
“I launched PB&J with Love just in time for National PB&J Day almost four years ago (April 2, 2017), with a goal of making 5,000 sandwiches that year,” she recalled.
Since then, PB&J with Love has far surpassed Winterle’s initial goal. To date, the organization has donated more than 92,000 PB&J sandwiches, 3,900 dozen cookies, 11,000 bags of chips, and several thousands of snack packs, art kits, and gifts.
Beneficiaries of this remarkable generosity include homeless recovery centers, soup kitchens, and schools.
To deliver such amazing results, Winterle relies upon a network of volunteers, many of whom are high school ambassadors of the organization.
The high school ambassador program launched last summer to encourage student leaders in public and private schools to mobilize their communities for the cause.
Those who have witnessed the growth of PB&J with Love have good reason to be proud of all Winterle has accomplished. Denise DiBiase, cheer director at Bishop Lynch, said of Winterle: “I noticed from the very beginning that she is a kind, caring, and respectful young woman. I am so impressed with what she has done with her organization.”
Alex McGinnis, a theology teacher at the school, echoed this sentiment
“Madeline has always exhibited concern for vulnerable populations, and it is impressive to watch her concern turn into action,” McGinnis said.
A special piece of praise comes from Madeline Elliott, Winterle’s former social studies teacher at Christ the King Catholic School who was instrumental in inspiring PB&J with Love.
“[Winterle] is just an incredible person with such a servant’s heart,” Elliott said. “What she has done with her PB&J and Love organization is impressive.”
Elliott’s charitable efforts, including traveling to Zambia to work with Arise Africa in helping eductators and schools in impoverished communities, served as inspiration for Winterle to pursue her own call to charity.
“It is in Miss Elliott’s class that I realized that one person really can make a big difference in this world, and that the more you give, the happier you will be,” Winterle said.
If this is true, Winterle should be very happy indeed.
Find more stories highlighting Catholic schools within the Diocese of Dallas in the Jan. 22 print edition of The Texas Catholic.