Elementary students raise donations for animal shelter

NILES — This holiday season, Cassie Bundy wanted to teach her third-grade class at Howard Elementary about the spirit of giving.

“We have been talking about how they should realize that Christmas is not all about getting gifts, but giving,” Bundy said. “We are trying to show them the true meaning of the holiday.”

To put the lesson into practice, Bundy had students vote on a local organization they wanted to help. Students chose the Cass County Animal Shelter, and spent two weeks raising donations to help the pets in need.

“Many of the students have their own pets at home,” Bundy said. “It gave them a sense of ownership that they could pick the cause.”

Bundy shared the project idea with fellow third-grade teachers Dave Schiele, Brandy Lowrance and Rachel Richmond, who got their classes on board to help out with the cause.

“They were all really excited about [the idea]” Bundy said. “It was a team effort.”

She also reached out to Cass County Animal Control Director Ron Butts to determine what items the shelter most needed. Bundy said she posted the project on social media and asked parents to donate pet food, cleaning supplies and blankets, among other items for the cause.

On Friday, Bundy hauled more than a dozen bags of pet food, cat litter and  a host of cleaning supplies to the shelter to donate.

Butts said the donations will serve the shelter and its four-legged residents well.

“The food and bleach and other cleaning supplies, and litter, are some of the largest consumables we use throughout the year,” Butts said.

With nearly a hundred animals currently housed at the animal shelter, Butts said any community donations are welcomed, and help defray the agency’s cost of purchasing basic supplies. Butts said he was also excited to see youth take an interest in helping their local animal shelter.

“I am really excited and happy to see support from the younger kids and the young adults in general,” Butts said. “Those are the individuals that are going to be supporting, sponsoring and working at the shelter one day. It is great to see the excitement and interest in our shelter.”

Butts also recognized Dowagiac’s Justice Gage Elementary School for recently  raising approximately $100 for the shelter. Monetary donations help to support animals’ medical needs, he said.

While this is the first year that Bundy said she has organized the project, she hopes to make it tradition in the years to come, encouraging students to embrace the holiday spirit by bettering their community.

Butts said donations are always welcome at the shelter. He added that those looking for a new addition to their family this Christmas will have many pets to choose from, and he encouraged residents to visit the shelter and adopt an animal that needs a home. For more information or to donate to the Cass County Animal Shelter, visit casscountymi.org/DepartmentsandCourts/AnimalControl.aspx.

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