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Hunger Heroes


ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP — For struggling families, even a jar of peanut butter can be the difference between a child going to bed hungry or nourished.

Monday, students in the National Honor Society at Rock Hill High School made a big push to ensure those local families can have that high protein staple item that has become commonplace to many of us.

In a partnership with WKEE radio station, the NHS and junior branch of the club donated more than 400 jars of peanut butter to the Huntington Area Food Bank. WKEE reached out to the Tri-State to help in the drive, and students at Rock Hill accepted the challenge, setting a modest goal of 30 jars.

The NHS got 39 jars its first day of the drive. Club president Austin Kidd said he was pleasantly surprised.

“We didn’t even think we could get 30, “ Kidd said.

The club set a new goal of 50 jars. Within another day’s time, 69 jars had been donated.

With WKEE radio personalities Dave and Tia ready to make the peanut butter pick-up Monday, the clubs upped their goal to 300 jars. Even that goal was surpassed — 402 jars were donated.

“I don’t look at it as just peanut butter,” said Kim Zornes, club advisor. “Each jar of peanut butter feeds an entire family.”

With peanuts in short supply nationwide, the average price for a jar of peanut butter is $3, Zornes said. The honor society clubs raised about $1,200 worth of peanut butter through the drive.

“You guys have done amazing work,” Dave said Monday.

“Who wants to help us load it in the van?” Tia exclaimed.

Dave and Tia also presented the group of students with a trophy and T-shirts for their efforts.

“It’s fulfilling,” said Eden Barcus, NHS treasurer. “It gives you one of those fuzzy feelings you can’t explain.”

The efforts of the NHS students didn’t begin with, or stop with, the peanut butter drive.

Sunday, the students participated in a rake and run. Students raked up 100 bags of leaves from the yards of folks not able to do so on their own.

The group also opened up a clothing closet at the high school for needy students.

Dedicated to the memory of a student who died in a car accident last year, Adam Kuehne, the closet has new and gently used clothing and is decorated to give those who use it a warm experience.

Each family in the district will receive an automated phone call about the details of the free clothing closet and how to make an appointment for their child.

Zornes said the closet will open after the Thanksgiving holiday and appointments can be made by calling her at (740) 532-7012 extension 11532.

Next month, the NHS will help pass out gifts to more than 600 National Guard families at the Ashland Armory, have a bake sale, participate in the Christmas with Dignity event at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ironton, and wrap gifts at the Ashland Town Center to help the Golden Kidz organization.

Zornes said even though November and December are the biggest months for giving, she wants the spirit to stay alive.

“I’m hoping to continue all the way to May,” she said.