Penn Yan pupils send gifts to animals

Gwen Chamberlain
Students in Laine Gillete’s and Leslie Fischer’s classrooms gather around some of the gifts for the Humane Society of Yates County. The classes decided to donate items to the Shelter of Hope rather than exchanging gifts among themselves this year.

When it came time to make plans for celebrating the holidays at Penn Yan Elementary School this year, a few classrooms came up with a special way to share the spirit of giving.

Rather than exchanging gifts among themselves, the students agreed to bring gifts that could be donated to the Humane Society of Yates County.

Before they headed home for their holiday recess, the students invited Bonnie Brewer to come to their classrooms to talk about the Humane Society and to accept the gifts.

By the end of the afternoon, Brewer needed help loading all the donations onto handcarts to take to her vehicle.

Teachers Laine Gillette and Leslie Fischer said their classes work together as reading buddies through the school year. Their classrooms and two others — Amy Bodine’s and Linda Travis’s — participated in the project.

Brewer told the pupils  that the Humane Society’s Shelter of Hope currently houses 10 dogs and seven puppies along with many cats.

“A lot of animals are brought in when people can’t take care of them,” she told the youngsters.

Then, as she surveyed the bounty piled on top of a cluster of desks, she said, “These donations are awesome!”

She said that every night, the dogs and puppies are given a blanket or towel along with a biscuit and a toy, which is why the donations of even old towels and blankets are very important.

She also said they have had more kittens and cats at the shelter this year than ever before.

Brewer explained ways younger people can volunteer to help out at the shelter, and described the process to adopt a cat or dog.

Before Brewer arrived, the students spent a few moments with Dakota, the therapy dog that spends time in the school with fifth grade teacher Pat Atkinson.

A Penn Yan elementary student helps Bonnie Brewer of the Humane Society of Yates County load donated food, toys, blankets, towels and treats for animals onto a handcart.