Chatfield High School seniors Danielle Norton and Mariah Pederson stand next to the cylinder that the National Honor Society is using to collect pop can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, which uses them as a fundraising item.   GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Chatfield High School seniors Danielle Norton and Mariah Pederson stand next to the cylinder that the National Honor Society is using to collect pop can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, which uses them as a fundraising item. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Mariah Pederson and the National Honor Society are keeping tabs on Ronald.

They're hoping to make it permanent.

"We started last year and kind of made it permanent this year, and we're hoping next year's National Honor Society (NHS) continues it," said Chatfield High School's NHS president Pederson. She recently explained that the organization's aluminum pop can tab collection will benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, a home away from home for families of children undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic.

"Somebody suggested it last year...they said that they did it at their house, so why not make it a school-wide event?" Pederson explained. "We started collecting the middle of last year, and we ended up with two big garbage bags full. Usually, people collect tabs at home and bring them in."

This year, the National Honor Society has created two different tubes to collect them in - one at the elementary and one at the high school.

"We put an article in the Gopher Gazette and announced it to spread the word to students and their families so they know where they can drop their pop tabs off at," Pederson said. "Last year, we used a garbage can, but we'll use the tube and check it regularly. I don't know how much each tab is worth, but at the end of the year, the Ronald McDonald House sends out a thank you card telling the overall amount of money raised."

She added that the pop tabs are one of the best ways to get help raising money for the Ronald McDonald House and and said it is probably one of the easiest things students can do to raise that much money and make such a great impact.

NHS member Danielle Norton noted that the local chapter is also working on or has assisted with various projects, including an in-house clothing drive for students who don't have enough winter clothes, working at the Purple Stride pancreatic cancer awareness walk in Rochester and lending a hand at the Chatfield Center for the Arts' Chosen Bean folk concert series.

She and Pederson also related they're hoping to be able to prepare a meal at the Ronald McDonald House sometime before Halloween and that they're also taking shots at "Hoops for the Hungry" during the Chatfield basketball games - a half-court basketball hoop challenge that invites community members to help raise money to fight hunger locally.

Pederson concluded, "There are so many things we're doing as the year goes on. We hope to help out lots of people in the area."