Lidl is releasing a limited-edition peanut butter in tribute to Eric “Bean” McKay to celebrate Autism Awareness Month in April, and will donate 10 cents of the proceeds from each jar to the Autism Society of America.
The 15-year-old Woodbridge teenager, who has autism, won a lifetime supply of peanut butter from Lidl in January after his tweet about Lidl peanut butter captured Lidl's attention. He said he eats peanut butter and jelly English muffins for three meals a day, and his mom had purchased 72 jars of Lidl peanut butter for 78 cents a jar in February. The tweet received 72,000 retweets.
Bean donated a portion of his winnings to workers who were affected by the federal government shutdown. His father was a furloughed federal worker.
Lidl was inspired by Bean’s selfless act, and because of him, launched its campaign to raise awareness and acceptance of people on the autism spectrum. April is National Autism Awareness Month.
As part of the month-long effort, Lidl will release a limited-edition of their peanut butter with a label featuring a photo of Bean starting Thursday. It is emblazoned in tie-dye, which Bean loves to wear. Shoppers can also support autism awareness by donating at the register. Locally, Lidl has one store each in Culpeper, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.
Beginning this week, the grocery chain will also hold sensory-friendly nights in its stores from 6–10 p.m. each Thursday during April to create a more comfortable store environment for people with autism. It will reduce ambient lighting and eliminate sounds that make shopping challenging for a sensory-sensitive person, including in-store music, announcements, and scanners. Employees also will welcome assistance dogs and provide more assistance for people on the spectrum.