Design by Elizabeth Ballew
This year’s SME Can Drive, which ended on Nov. 29, raised 2,000 more cans than last year. A total of 13,500 “cans”, consisting of both cash donations and non-perishable food items, were donated to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau, an organization that aids low-income families during the holiday season.
Events such as the fourth hour macaroni and cheese contest and competitions between cheer and dance team, Harbinger and Hauberk, soccer and football and SHARE and Coalition were very effective for the JCCB fundraiser, according to East StuCo Sponsor Brenda Fishman.
Excluding the SHARE Mr. Cansas Pageant, an event showcasing male students from various activities with a two-can entry fee, the fundraising events were very similar to what they have been in the past.
Despite this, East’s contribution during the previous few years was notably smaller than it was during this November’s drive. Compared to this year’s 9,500 non-perishable food items donated, last year saw only 7,800.
“The [previous] few years, I thought there was either a lack of support or a lack of knowledge,” Fishman said. “For some reason East students didn’t seem to provide. This year, it looked like a lot of the different groups helped bring in.”
According to Fishman and senior student body Secretary Julia Stopperan, three main factors contributed to this year’s success: The enthusiasm and involvement of StuCo members and teachers, the promotion of different competitions using StuCo’s social media and handmade posters and the overall awareness of the drive from a greater amount of students and parents.
Individual classes, too, were a major factor in the success of this year’s can drive, Stopperan said.
“Mrs. Goodeyon and Mrs. Horn’s [third hour] classes, they collected 3,500 can between those two classes,” Stopperan said. “I think normally, they bring in 1,000, but they really went above and beyond this year. Those kids were just really invested in it.”
The IB standard level math classes always compete each year to bring in cans, as well. This year, students brought in an average of 179 cans per person.
“It started out once a week, and then we went [to the store to buy cans] three times in one week,” third hour SL1 student and junior Audrey Helmuth said. “Sometimes Price Chopper would get really annoyed with us because we would make like 20 transactions.”
SMSD has partnered with the JCCB for over 25 years, and the items the high school fundraisers collect make up a significant amount of the Bureau’s food resources.
“[SMSD has] the largest single food drive that has donated to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau,” JCCB Executive Director Lawrence Bigus said. “Without the SMSD food drive, we would not be able to give out two to three days worth of groceries to each client and family.”
Held in the former Sears store on 97th and Metcalf, the JCCB Holiday shop is open from last Friday, until next Saturday. Hoping to encourage as many students to participate as possible, StuCo will be hosting a volunteer night at the shop on Tuesday, Dec. 5.