They are perhaps the most proud pet owners in New Lambton.
Students of St. Teresa Elementary School gladly accepted the assignment to come to school with a photo of a beloved four-legged friend, a winged buddy, or a buddy with fins.
Donate a bag or can of perishable pet food was also easy to accomplish.
In fact, over the past four weeks, 600 students have been collecting jars of pet food, dry crumbs, dog chewing gum and boiled sweets for fellow pet owners who may find it difficult in Newcastle.
Donations were handed over Tuesday morning Senior Citizen of the Year Newcastle Ian Chamberlain.
Ian heads the Hamilton South Community Solutions group and will distribute donations to residents who are also pet owners and may struggle with rising cost of living and / or constant financial pressures associated with COVID-19.
Any surplus donations will be donated Hunter for the Homeless Connect.
“We have found that often people in need take better care of their animals and then neglect themselves,” Ian said.
“They will use the latest resources to feed their pets and then get around.
“Through these donations, we can make sure their pets are fed and that they will take care of themselves and buy healthy food.”
Having a pet is more than just exercise, Ian said Newcastle Weekly.
“There are a lot of older people in the Hamilton South community who feel isolated and animals are really important to them.
“Having a pet keeps their mind and body active because they take them for a walk, and pets give them a sense of purpose.
“They have to get up every day, they have to walk their pets, feed their cats, birds, guinea pigs – it helps their mental health.”
She says she was thrilled to be approached about the Burke Street School initiative.
“The children who came together, came up with the idea and got fully involved, were fantastic,” she said.
“It’s great to see how they dedicate themselves to this and understand the process.”
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