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NHS Halloween food drive a huge success in Hastings

This year’s National Honor Society students are pictured in Hastings High School.

The National Honor Society Halloween food drive is an event that’s been going on for years. Hastings residents along the traditional routes are accustomed to having students ask for food donations. But this year, a few changes to the process resulted in a major increase in donations.

This year’s collection event brought in 3,066 pounds of food and $111 in cash, all of which was donated to Hastings Family Service. In 2012, the NHS students collected 342 pounds, and 2011’s event ended with 850 pounds.

There are 40 students in the National Honor Society at Hastings this year. The students hold a few community and fundraiser events throughout the year. The fall bake sale, held during teacher conferences, kicked the year off to a good start, raising about $600 in one day.

Each event is headed by one of the NHS officers. This year’s officers are seniors Amanda Pass (president), Courtney Ommen, Steven Roach and Abbey Gullicks. The Halloween food drive was Roach’s chance to lead his fellow students, and he initiated a few changes this year.

“We re-did the routes,” he said, and used a new system to notify residents that students would be coming by for food donations.

The old routes were outdated, Roach said, and it was time for a new system, so he mapped out 11 new routes and decided the students would drop of donation bags and a slip at the homes prior to the drive so residents got a heads-up. They got grocery bags donated by Cub Foods and Coborn’s.

With the new system in place, students found that people were more willing to help; several left the filled donation bags out the night of the drive so the students just had to pick it up.

Another thing that might have helped was the costumes. NHS students were out collecting food when many kids in Hastings were trick-or-treating, and all the students were required to wear a costume. Not only did it get the students to have a little more fun, it spread the fun out to those who encountered them.

All in all, the event filled two SUVs, a truck and a PT Cruiser full of food. Unloading it all at Hastings Family Service was a bit of a shock to HFS staff, said Abbey Gullicks, who led the drop-off work.

“They were so excited, especially with Thanksgiving (coming up),” she said.

Other events

The National Honor Society is built on the ideals of character, leadership, scholarship and service. To help them develop in all those areas, Hastings NHS students hold a handful of community events.

The bake sale this year is being run by Ommen. A fall sale has already taken place and raised about $600. A second sale will occur in the spring.

Pass is in charge of the blood drive, which will be held in January. All students and teachers will be invited to donate blood to the American Red Cross.

Gullicks’ project is the walk-a-thon. Each NHS student is required to raise at least $100; the students regularly top $10,000 total. That money is donated to Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.

Students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average and must apply for membership before they join the NHS. That means the students in NHS are already driven to help out.

“Everyone chose to be here,” Ommen said.

Another requirement is that NHS members complete at least 60 hours of volunteer work each year. The group’s advisors this year are Laura Zabel and Cindy Oppold.