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Loper comes through with Paws to Paws donations

Loper Elementary School has been donating loads of items for the past 15 years to the Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter from its Paws to Paws donation drive.

Friday’s haul might be the Shelbyville school’s biggest to date.

Members of the Loper Elementary School student council hauled out load after load of boxes, bags and carpets from a school bus Friday morning, braving the bitter cold.

The students ignored the single-digit morning temperature for a good cause, delivering its collection haul to the shelter. LeAnn Porter, one of the student council advisors, guessed that the 1,155 items were the most the school has donated.

“I think it just speaks volumes to our kids to spread kindness,” she said. “That’s kind of our theme and our goal.”

Keith Barrett of the animal shelter thanked the students for the donation, calling it “amazing stuff.”

“There’s a lot of organizations to donate to, and you pick us every year and been doing it for a long time,” he told them. “It’s just amazing to us and that’s a lot of stuff.”

Members of the council stacked the two-weeks-worth of donations of bags of food, treats and carpet before visiting some of the animals waiting to be adopted.

Aside from getting an opportunity to meet the animals, members of the student council, along with their classmates, had plenty of motivation from being shown a photo of an animal at the shelter each morning.

The idea came from one of the teachers, Porter said. Each photo was accompanied by a biography of that potential pet that formed a connection with the students.

“Putting a face with an action is like a huge momentum booster knowing you’re making a difference,” she said.

Faculty members were also encouraged to donate.

Anyone who brought in at least seven items were given a duty-free pass, meaning another staff member replaced them on certain duties such as observing recess. Most staff members brought in at least seven items.

Barrett said the donated amount was probably enough to last for a couple months.

“It’s amazing the amount they brought in,” he said. “It’s great to see the kids’ faces and they’re just having fun, but they don’t really realize how much good they’ve done by collecting all this and bringing all those donations. It’s really an amazing, cool thing they do every year. And it seems to get bigger and bigger.”

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