HANCOCK — Leashes, harnesses, toys, bowls, even a stick from the woods to fetch. These are some of the items, 700 in total, being donated to the SPCA in Trenton by students at Hancock Grammar School.
“Initially, my goal was to just go on a field trip to the animal shelter and maybe donate a few items,” said Ellen Sprague, the first grade teacher at Hancock Grammar School whose class spearheaded the donation drive. “So two weeks ago we put out the word with a letter for the kids to take home, and in the first week we had collected 170 items.”
Sprague’s first-graders continued to collect donations, and soon enough they were joined by the other 11 classes at the school.
The students, along with other members of the community, collected items from the SPCA’s wish list, and last Thursday they delivered the goods to the SPCA.
Sprague noted that the donation drive brought out the healthy competitive spirit in the students, as the reward for the class that collects the most items is something cherished by all students — the chance to watch a movie, “The Secret Life of Pets” — in school.
“It’s more than just cat food and toys. It’s cleaning supplies, paper towels, it’s trash bags, it’s bedding,” Sprague said. “The good thing with this is that it doesn’t have to be brand new stuff; it can be hand-me-down items. So it hits all walks of life.”
Sprague’s class, along with the school’s other first grade class, also got the chance to tour the SPCA and see how the shelter operates.
“The kids get to see the why — why are the animals at the shelter,” said Sprague, herself the owner of three yellow Labs. “Because they weren’t being taken care of or treated nicely. Kids have big hearts, they want to care. Especially with animals, I think it’s a situation where your heart is a little bigger.”