Pirkle, Jeffry

Alyssa Pirkle of High Ridge hopes to keep her son’s memory alive and help out the community at the same time.

She has organized a “Spread the Love” peanut butter and jelly drive to honor her son, Jeffry Pirkle, a 2017 Northwest High School graduate and lance corporal in the Marines who died Aug. 11 at age 21.

“I just feel like giving back to the community would be a good way to honor him and I really just want to keep his memory alive,” she said. “I just want everyone to know my son served our country, and I want to help serve our community.”

Pirkle plans to donate all the collected peanut butter and jelly to Feed My People, a food pantry that serves several communities in the St. Louis region, including Jefferson County.

She said donation boxes are located at the Big River VFW, 1 Lynn Lane, in Cedar Hill; at the Cedar Hill Fire Protection District’s House 1 at 6766 Cedar Hill Road; and at the High Ridge VFW, 2220 Gravois Road B.

In addition, a drive-thru collection event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, at the High Ridge Fire House, 2842 High Ridge Blvd.

Pirkle said her son loved peanut butter, so it seemed appropriate to collect peanut butter and jelly for the food drive.

“When Jeffry was growing up, he would eat peanut butter all the time on waffles or just bread,” she said. “We would catch him with his fingers in the jar. So, we ended up getting him his own jar. There were two jars in the pantry and one of them would say Jeffry on it, so we all knew that was Jeffry’s because he put his fingers in it.”

Pirkle said she even caught him a few times with a jar under his pillow.

“In the middle of the night, he would get up and eat peanut butter,” she said.

Pirkle said she plans to donate the peanut butter and jelly to Feed My People on Jan. 4, which is the day after what would have been her son’s 22nd birthday.

Jeffry trained at Fort Leonard Wood and completed boot camp in California before being stationed in Arizona and then North Carolina, where he died.