Woodbridge teen donates peanut butter to furloughed feds — lots of it

WASHINGTON — Fifteen-year-old Eric McKay likes peanut butter. Specifically Lidl’s peanut butter. And, as the result of a social media challenge, he ended up with a lot of it. Now he’s sharing it with shutdown-impacted feds.

McKay, who lives in Woodbridge, Virginia, and goes by the nickname “Bean,” has autism and he eats peanut butter sandwiches on toasted English muffins three times a day.

When Lidl had a sale on its store brand peanut butter last year (78 cents a jar), McKay’s mom Tracy stocked up on 72 jars of it.

After McKay finished all 72 jars, which he individually numbered and kept track of, he tweeted to Lidl in October with a picture of the empty jars. Lidl gave him another 72 jars and then upped the ante.

If he could get 72,000 retweets, Lidl would give him a lifetime supply of its peanut butter.

The tweet storm got a little boost from British author Neil Gaiman earlier this month.

Last week, McKay hit that goal (76,000 retweets at last count) and announced that he wanted to donate a portion of his winnings to workers affected by the federal government shutdown. His father is a furloughed federal worker.

On Jan. 21, McKay and his family got a tour of Lidl’s Fredericksburg warehouse and got a look at his down payment, a pallet of peanut butter deemed “a five-year supply.”

Any federal employee that is not being paid because of the government shutdown can stop by the Lidl store in Dumfries at 16601 Dumfries Road, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday with his or her government ID and get up to three jars of McKay’s peanut butter for free.


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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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