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Students meet shelter animals, donate supplies

One after another, the students walked in carrying cleaning supplies, pet food and kitty litter. Each donation was taken by a thankful staff member and placed carefully on the counter.

Those making the donations at the Vicksburg-Warren Humane Society were the eight students from Charlene Gravens’ 3-year-old class at Hawkins Preschool.

For the past 19 years, Gravens has brought her class to the shelter in April both to drop of collected supplies, much-needed by the shelter, and to continue their lessons about community involvement and responsibility.

Students from Charlene Gravens’ class meet one of the puppies from the shelter. (Tim Reeves\The Vicksburg Post)

“Some of these students might have a pet at home, others might not,” Gravens said. “But we have talked about taking care of pets, how we need to feed them and how we can give pack to the community.”

Over the past few months, the students have heard presentations from veterinarians, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace and others about the needs in the community and ways to give back.

Gravens said before collecting supplies, she checks with those at the Humane Society to see what is needed.

“Always ask them what they need. Usually it’s  kitty litter, newspapers, soap, but this year they needing a certain brand of dog food,” she said.

Bridgett Cortezie, who has worked at the Humane Society for 15 years, said the visit by Gravens’ group, and others, is great exposure for the shelter and the supplies always come in handy.

“It’s funny because we were down to our last half gallon of bleach,” Cortezie said. “And here they are bringing in all of this bleach and other cleaning supplies.

“These visits are also helpful in getting the word about what we do here, the animals we have available and the importance of adoption.”

Gravens said the shelter provides the perfect trip for her students to understand the need in our area.

“The children — because some of them have their own animals — understand when we bring stuff that we are helping these dogs and these kittens.  They don’t have a home yet, so they need food while they are waiting to get adopted,” Gravens said. “In the fall we will do a food drive at Thanksgiving. But, I don’t think that really registers with the children about people in the community not having food to eat, because they, themselves, have food to eat. But when we talk about animals, it really connects with them.”

Gravens said she this trip each spring has become more than a tradition for her classes, but a mission; a mission she hopes does not end.

“As long as I keep teaching, I will keep doing this,” Gravens said. “I probably am going to retire soon, so I hope this project does not go to the wayside.”

Adoptions at the Vicksburg-Warren Humane Society are $75 and come with a certificate for a spay or neuter. Those adopting from the shelter must have a veterinarian recommendation.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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