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Fri, Oct. 18

First-graders run pet food drive

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>
Students in Melissa Walker's first grade class at Humboldt Elementary School gather Thursday with the over 500 pounds of dry dog food, 50 cans of dog and cat food and $250 in cash that the school raised for United Animal Friends and Prescott Animal Lifesavers.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> Students in Melissa Walker's first grade class at Humboldt Elementary School gather Thursday with the over 500 pounds of dry dog food, 50 cans of dog and cat food and $250 in cash that the school raised for United Animal Friends and Prescott Animal Lifesavers.

PRESCOTT - Kaylie Stearman loves animals. The Humboldt Elementary School first-grader has three dogs and, she exclaimed, "my grandma has 11 cats!"

When first-grade teacher Melissa Walker organized a pet food drive, Kaylie thought it was a great idea "because it saves animals and I like to care for animals."

Walker said this is the second year the school's Character Counts Committee has conducted the pet food drive.

Walker joined the Character Counts Committee during the 2007-08 school year. Walker, also an animal lover, thought a pet food drive would fit the "Caring Pillar," one of the six pillars of Character Counts. The other pillars include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness and citizenship.

Walker said the school-wide pet food drive would continue until Thursday. The students accepted cat and/or dog food and monetary donations.

Walker said the Humboldt Elementary School Student Council donated $100 to the event.

This year, the school is donating the pet food to United Animal Friends and Prescott Area Animal Lifesavers. The organizations plan to distribute the food to families providing foster care to animals waiting for a forever home.

Walker said she explained to her students that the food they bring in would "help people who have (cats or dogs) in their home feed them."

United Animal Friends volunteer Linda and Elmer Claycomb said the food would go to foster families in need and "any food left would be distributed to the community."

Walker said Costco donated 324 pounds of the school's 500 pounds of dry cat and dog food.

The school also received about 50 cans of dog and cat food; approximately $233 in cash donations, including $50 from the Prescott Valley Lions Club and a $15 cash card from Costco; and miscellaneous donations from students, staff members and the community.

Walker said she also received donations of leashes, dog/cat toys, dishes and treats.

"The goal of the pet food drive is to allow children to help care for something that can't care for itself," Walker said. "The students really seemed to feel a sense of accomplishment when I told them that their contributions would help the good people care for and feed these pets until they can find a loving home like we all want to have."

Contact the reporter at prhoden@prescottaz.com

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