This holiday season, the Mutt-i-gree Club at Deep River Elementary School set out to collect goods for dogs in need in the Chester, Deep River, and Essex area.
“It was important to help the dogs so they can have a good home and food so they can survive better,” said Dylan Cook, a 5th grader who is a member of the club.
The group spoke with area Animal Enforcement Officer Jae Wolf, who explained that the pound is currently in need of blankets and wet food for the dogs. Wolf told the Mutt-i-grees that often that dogs that come to pound are scared, so having the comfort of warm blanket and enticing wet food helps them to adjust.
“Most of the dogs that end up at the pound are there because they lost their homes or have been treated badly, or no one wants them, so I am glad we were able to get donations of blankets and food for these animals, because no one should treat animals badly,” said Christopher Snyder, who joined the Mutt-i-gree Club because he loves dogs and someday hopes to get one of his own.
In the span of just two weeks, the nine members of the club made posters that were put up throughout the school, placed donation boxes outside of every 5th and 6th grade classroom, and appeared on the morning news daily to remind students to bring in needed goods for the animals.
A total of 194 different blankets and food items were collected and donated.
“It was really fun to work so hard on a project and then get so many donations,” said club member Luke Buccaro. “I really wasn’t expecting us to get as many donations as we did.”
Snyder said he thinks it is important for everyone to remember animals that have lost their homes during this season, because they can’t speak for themselves and ask for what they need.
“These kids worked super, super hard on this,” said Kelly Gordon, a 4th grade teacher at Deep River Elementary School who helped with the donation drive as part of her sixth-year degree community project. “The kids put in so much time and effort and they did such a great job, we are all very proud of them.”
Gordon added that in addition to thinking of others, doing good for the community, and showing kindness, this donation drive helped the club members work on important skills such as communication and team work.
Proud of their accomplishments and ready to embark on their next project, the Mutt-i-gree Club members are looking to the upcoming spring season when they will once again be asking for donations for area pets, but this time it will be an entire school donation drive, requesting funds to help offset the cost of caring for the dogs that pass through the tri-town pound.