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Students arrive at the shelter bearing gifts for their furry Valentines. Photo: Katharine Schroeder

Greenport students get an early start in community service

Kids are never too young to learn about community service, as evidenced by a group of students from Greenport School’s Early Act Club who arrived at the North Fork Animal Welfare League’s Peconic shelter this afternoon bearing gifts of blankets, food and toys they’d collected for a “My Furry Virtual Valentine” project.

For the past month every elementary classroom virtually adopted a pet off the NFAWL website and collected blankets, food and toys for their furry valentines, said Early Act co-advisor Carolyn Sweeney.

“They’re so excited to meet their Valentines and give back to the community,” added co-advisor Jeanne McInnis.

Some students created their own blankets using scraps of cloth, while others rounded up boxes and cans of pet food or toys.

After carrying in the boxes and bags of donations, the children took a tour of the shelter, visiting the dogs, cats and pigs (yes, there are two pigs at the shelter). Although the dogs remained in their pens, the kids were able to give them treats and spend a little time with them.

Daniel Rivas, age 9, went from pen to pen handing out dog biscuits.  “I really liked this project,” he said.  “I like the dogs, but I feel sad for them because they’re not getting adopted. I adopted a dog. His name is Steve. His owner left him on the streets. My cousin and I share him because we both gave money to get him.”

Nine-year-old Ela Ryan was all smiles as she visited the cat room. “I like helping animals a lot. I have three dogs at home. I brought in a can of dog food. The animals are happy now because they have more food to eat and toys to play with.”

The Early Act Club is a service club for children in grades four through six and is sponsored by the Greenport Rotary. There are clubs for middle and high schoolers as well.

This past fall the club collected 50 pounds of candy to send to troops overseas through a program run by Riverhead orthodontist Dr. Richard Bach.

SoutholdLOCAL photos by Katharine Schroeder. Classroom photos courtesy Greenport School.