Thanks to a group of fifth-graders at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School and their fundraiser, Pennies for Pets, the Soldotna Animal Shelter received more than $500 to put toward emergency medical services for animals.
Grace Hallam, Lauren Tureman, Kendall England and Cody Henley organized “Pennies for Pets,” a program collecting loose change to donate to the animal shelter as part of the school’s leadership program.
“A section of (the program) is about improving our school and community. So, the kids wanted to do a fundraiser… These four kids did it all,” said Hannah Dolphin, the sixth-grade teacher at K-Beach Elementary. Dolphin and the school’s behavior interventionist, Janae Van Slyke, organize the leadership program.
The students repurposed used tissue boxes into donation boxes for their cause and challenged their classmates to see which classroom could raise the most money throughout the month of March. Suzanne Klaben’s sixth-grade class took first place in the competition, earning themselves a root beer float party, Dolphin said.
“We spent a whole day counting pennies and ended up with dirty hands, but we raised about $500 for the animal shelter,” Dolphin said.
On Friday morning, the four students visited the Soldotna Animal Shelter to make their donation in person.
“The kids were really excited — they got to see the animals they have in the shelter,” Dolphin said.
The donation will go into an account the shelter uses to cover emergency surgeries for animals without owners.
“We have a limited amount of money that we can spend on an animal, but any donations go to a separate account at the vet’s clinic to use for animals that need a little extra care than what the city would normally provide for it,” said Marianne Clark, the animal control officer for Soldotna. “We want to make the animals comfortable, with treatment or short term, and this account allows us to do that. … The donations definitely go towards a good cause.”
Each quarter, a new group of students is chosen to work with the leadership program, performing various tasks throughout the school from promoting events to helping out in the lunchroom, Dolphin said.
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