Elementary students donate supplies to Osceola County Animal Control

REED CITY — Although many individuals think of giving to local food pantries during the holiday season, third-grade students at GT Norman Elementary School in Reed City are remembering dogs and cats waiting to be adopted from Osceola County Animal Control.

From Nov. 10 through Dec. 10, third graders collected donations to give to the shelter with the help of teacher Julie Garner, a pet-lover and frequent adopter from the facility.

"In the years past we've donated to the food pantry as a whole school, but I wanted to do something every year in third grade," Garner said. "I wanted to do something different and I thought, being a pet owner, donating to the shelter would be a neat thing for the kids. We just kind of took off with the idea. Kids love helping animals."

After reviewing the shelter's wish list, each third grade class began the collection drive. In a month's time, stacks of food, treats, toys, blankets, cleaning supplies and more were donated. Those who contributed were able to sign their name on a paper paw print displayed at the school.

"I'm so proud of the kids," Garner said. "It warms my heart because I've adopted a lot of animals from here."

On drop-off day, third-graders Miles Golden, Ella Dwyer, Zach Rogowski, Kaylin Smoes and Garner's daughter, Elise, helped load boxes and bags into the shelter, accompanied by Garner and fellow teacher Lindsey Delpiere. The students said they feel good about donating to the shelter and being able to help the cats and dogs waiting for forever homes.

As a thank-you gift, Osceola Animal Control Director Michelle Kuz gave the students a gift box full of items the children could take home.

"This is a great way to have community involvement," Kuz added. "It helps a lot. By doing this, Julie is starting the next generation out making sure the animals are in everybody's thoughts."

The shelter is always in need of items such as bleach and other cleaning supplies, cat litter and canned food. Donations are always welcome and appreciated, Kuz said.