North’s annual Peanut Butter Drive benefits families at the Johnson County Christmas Bureau

Kyle Milligan

For more than 30 years, SM North has been making donations to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau (JCCB). Last year, 3,000 families used the Bureau for food, clothing and holiday gifts for their families in the Johnson County area. This year the number was expected to go above 3,500.

NHS sponsor and counselor Laurie Matson-Ritter said collecting enough peanut butter was a concern due to the cost this year.

“I’m hoping we’ll have about $800 to buy with and that will give us about 500 jars.”

Matson-Ritter said people receiving help from JCCB would not be getting help from the Salvation Army or any organizations like that.

“The Johnson County Christmas Bureau is a very selective process to go through in order to be able to come in and shop,” Matson-Ritter said. “They really try to bring in people that don’t have any other resources.”

Matson-Ritter said families are able to shop for groceries and a gift for each person in the family.

“They end up with a lot of items,” Matson-Ritter said, “that hopefully really help them through the holidays and help them have a good situation in their family for at least a small amount of time.”

The National Honor Society began the Peanut Butter Campaign Oct. 27 during seminar and collected $1 donations for the purchase of Peanut Butter during the two November Seminars. The $1 donation provided that student with a ticket to the charity basketball game on Nov. 22 during seminar.

“They (NHS students) gave the background information about the Johnson County Christmas Bureau,” Matson-Ritter said, “and asked for a donation of $1 from each student to help buy peanut butter.”

Seminars that received 100 percent participation were put into a drawing to be selected for the half-time competition at the Charity Basketball Game on Nov. 22.

“They (seminars with 100% participation) were recognized as a ‘VIP Seminar’ at the Charity Basketball Game,” Matson-Ritter said. “Seven seminars gave 100 percent. Names were put into a drawing and four were chosen for the ‘Pile Up the Peanut Butter Competition.’”

Senior Adam Rathjen was a member of the A.R.T. seminar team that won both challenges during the assembly.

“I was a little nervous,” Rathjen said. “We weren’t sure exactly how we were going to build it up, and how to keep it supported.”

Senior Dash Reid was also on the winning team with Rathjen. Reid was eager to beat the team of choir students.

“I did really want to beat the choir kids,” Reid said, “just because me and Jeremy Evans, who was on the choir team, had a little back and forth banter saying that we were going to win.”

Reid said it felt great when it was announced that the A.R.T. seminar won both challenges.

“Once we won the first time, that was cool because no matter what happened we at least got half,” Reid said, “but when they said we got it the second time, I thought it was awesome that we got it.”