Peanut butter has a lot going for it. It’s got a ton of protein, you’re totally allowed to eat it straight out the jar with a spoon, and it’s part of the most well-known food friendship of all time — the classic peanut butter and jelly. Now, with the help of a very generous PB aficionado, the salty-sweet snack food is also feeding furloughed government workers in their time of need.
Eric McKay, a 15-year-old autistic teen from Virginia, really loves peanut butter. For the last few months, McKay has been working to win a lifetime supply from his local grocery store, gaining national attention with his peanut butter powered Twitter campaign.
When McKay beat the odds and won more of the spread than he could ever eat alone, the teen immediately knew what to do with his surplus. Now, McKay and his family are donating jars of peanut butter to federal employees who went unpaid during the 35-day government shutdown.
This is Eric McKay, but friends call him Bean.
Dear @LidlUS My name is Bean. I eat peanut butter and jelly English muffins for three meals a day. Back in Febr… https://t.co/vhUBCc6Rck— Philosopher Bean (@Philosopher Bean)1539654123.0
Its smooth texture is comforting for Bean.
Lunch. https://t.co/BOZF7Rdart— Philosopher Bean (@Philosopher Bean)1540142467.0
People with autism can be sensitive to certain tastes and textures.
@BeanPhilosopher @LidlUS Bean’s mom here. To the folks worried about his diet: Like many kids with autism, he’s se… https://t.co/aQ4jve0Sx2— Tracy M (@Tracy M)1539828105.0
He really loves peanut butter.
@BeanPhilosopher Dinner! https://t.co/vLwX4SAXK5— Tracy M (@Tracy M)1547764129.0
Obviously, his mom buys in bulk.
When the spread was on sale for 78 cents a jar, Tracy bought 72 jars to make sure they’d be stocked up for a while.
But their supply started running thin.
Some muffins are dense and taste of sadness. https://t.co/hPWmDJixQN— Philosopher Bean (@Philosopher Bean)1548033848.0
Money was getting tight.
Another casualty of the Donald and Mitch Shutdown Show: Not only are contractors not getting paid, but their healt… https://t.co/Gpuz9jT1SK— Barbara Boxer (@Barbara Boxer)1548180120.0
He went without pay for over a month.
Two weeks without work for 800K Federal employees. We're raising four kids, and we can *squeak by* without pay for… https://t.co/w56ryiBpHv— Tracy M (@Tracy M)1546609242.0
They were on a shoestring budget.
The federal government has been partially shut down for almost a month now -- the longest stretch in US history. He… https://t.co/dm2bvaiylu— CNN (@CNN)1548043214.0
72 jars is a lot, but it can’t feed a family forever.
via: ShutterstockBean had numbered each jar, so he knew they were coming up on the last one fast.
He wanted to help the family stock up again, on a budget.
I’m now on Jar #72. My mom says it’s time for you to have another peanut butter sale. Thanks for your help. Bean https://t.co/f3zCioNcd9— Philosopher Bean (@Philosopher Bean)1539654253.0
Instead, the store presented Bean with a challenge.
@BeanPhilosopher We've got 72 jars on the way! Are you willing to up the ante?! If you get 72,000 RTs we’ll give yo… https://t.co/bXSV88xxfr— Lidl US (@Lidl US)1539812452.0
He didn’t expect to reach the goal.
Hey there friends! @BeanPhilosopher’s Dad is a government employee and is furloughed right now. If we get to that m… https://t.co/S50HvHQ2VW— Tracy M (@Tracy M)1547093428.0
But his mission was met with a surprising amount of support.
Let’s get @BeanPhilosopher to 72k RTs so he can get a lifetime supply of his fave Lidl peanut butter 🙌🙌🙌 https://t.co/vb14kuC1xI— Lidl US (@Lidl US)1539817881.0
Then it started getting some high profile attention.
@BeanPhilosopher @LidlUS 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 he only eats pb +j. if he gets 72k retweets on above @LidlUS will giv… https://t.co/1E3jlTNwUp— Monica Lewinsky (she/her) (@Monica Lewinsky (she/her))1547303221.0
Then Neil Gaiman found Bean’s tweet.
BEAN HAS BEEN OFFERED A LIFETIME SUPPLY OF PEANUT BUTTER IF HE GETS 72,000 RTS TO HIS TWEET. He’s autistic, that’s… https://t.co/p3t9SSwvPi— Neil Gaiman (@Neil Gaiman)1547250495.0
Gaiman posted multiple times.
He's already got 5000 RTs today, and is even closer to possibly getting a lifetime's supply of Peanut Butter.* But… https://t.co/0R3UNpEZDZ— Neil Gaiman (@Neil Gaiman)1547165449.0
The efforts helped him reach his goal.
WE DID IT! Thank you for all your support 🙌 Stay tuned - we’re about to ‘spread’ the love 🥜 This is what we’ve ‘bea… https://t.co/ajMrAKGj2x— Lidl US (@Lidl US)1547340101.0
The store gave Bean 72 jars on the spot.
Yay!!!!! #LidlBeanutbutter @LidlUS @neilhimself https://t.co/aUO8TJkgYM— Philosopher Bean (@Philosopher Bean)1547307732.0
Bean officially had more peanut butter than he’d ever be able to eat.
Eric McKay, a 15-year-old in Virginia, accepted a challenge by Lidl grocery store and shared his prize with people… https://t.co/s68janlsOO— HuffPost Parents (@HuffPost Parents)1548425577.0
He wanted to share the wealth.
I’m giving away some of my peanut butter, and if you are furloughed like my dad you can have some. I hope my dad i… https://t.co/PlzHs4YAAU— Philosopher Bean (@Philosopher Bean)1548103078.0
He didn’t have money to give, but he did have peanut butter.
“I like eating. I’m pretty sure everyone else does too.” Come to the Dumfries @LidlUS and share my… https://t.co/36LsCSmI3w— Philosopher Bean (@Philosopher Bean)1548279768.0
His actions have inspired hope.
@BeanPhilosopher is sharing his @LidlUS #BeanutButter with other families who are furloughed. We'll all be at the… https://t.co/LB15CYikoP— Tracy M (@Tracy M)1548185858.0
Some feel Bean represents the ideal.
@shomaristone @BeanPhilosopher This is the America we all want and need!— LINDA RIGSBY (@LINDA RIGSBY)1548331983.0
Others feel he did what government representatives wouldn’t.
@shomaristone @MalcolmNance @BeanPhilosopher A kid has way more heart than the entire Republican Party!!— Dr. Maria May 🇺🇸 🇨🇺🌊 (@Dr. Maria May 🇺🇸 🇨🇺🌊)1548347900.0
Bean for Prez?He does run a solid campaign, and shows great leadership skills.
Politics aside, Bean is the best.His first instinct after winning his favorite thing was to share it. If that’s not an angel…
His actions are especially touching for others with autism.
@NBCDFW That's so sweet, I'm austic and would do the same thing in a heart beat. We are kind and generous. For thos… https://t.co/t6oMiZnX6g— jamesconnor (@jamesconnor)1548433856.0
And he’s planning even more giveaways.
That’s about five years worth of peanut butter @BeanPhilosopher is donating! We got to see it this morning at the… https://t.co/ct7hQNWG3v— Tracy M (@Tracy M)1548093624.0
Bean is really just happy he could help.
My dad says he might be able to go back to work Monday! We’re still going to share peanut butter on Saturday. Noon… https://t.co/2Qsm8iFuA6— Philosopher Bean (@Philosopher Bean)1548452978.0