Camas Christian Academy students recently received a challenge: collect as many supplies they could for the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society within just one week.
The outcome? Two vans full of at least 30 bags of dog food, 50 peanut butter jars and more than 100 Clorox wipes. The students dropped their collected donations at the Washougal-based West Columbia Gorge Humane Society on Monday, Nov. 27.
Ashley Schlauch, curriculum director at the Camas Christian Academy (CCA), and Charis Wiegand, preschool teacher and aftercare coordinator, advise the CCA student council, which organized this service project for the humane society.
“We chose to do it in the fall instead of the spring because there are a lot of food donation projects for people during the holidays, and so (the students) wanted to do one for pets,” Schlauch says.
Cathi Parent, volunteer and programs manager for the local Humane Society, says that the donation was a wonderful thing and that she was amazed by the amount of supplies the students collected in just one week.
Schlauch agrees: “Usually you don’t see that support when it comes to animals. It’s nice to see that our community at school really does care.”
The student council chose to donate the collections to the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society (WCGHS) because the shelter serves their local community.
The local animal shelter had a wishlist, and each item was assigned a point value, so the classes could compete to see which class could raise the most points.
Second grade teacher Rachel Neuberger’s class came in first place with 700 points, earning them the coveted trip to drop off supplies and tour the humane society this week.
Schlauch says she was surprised on the fourth day of the competition when she entered the school hallway and saw it lined with bags of pet food and other supplies.
Students brought in supplies that usually don’t get donated, Parent adds, such as cleaning and office supplies, enrichment treats and peanut butter. This will save the WCGHS money, and help the shelter pay for other expenses.
One thing that the shelter could use during this time of year is a few more storage containers to store holiday season donations.
The animal shelter currently has one 10-by-20 foot container, but could use another to store donations, Parent says.
Aside from the animal shelter’s basic overhead costs, the most expensive part of operating the WCGHS is providing medical treatment for the animals, Parent says.
The spay-neuter operations and vaccinations are sometimes covered in the adoption fee, but if animals come in and are already sick, the shelter must take them in and help them heal.
“Medical (expenses) can add up, which doesn’t get covered with adoption fees,” Parent says.
For example, WCGHS might spend $1,000 to treat one animal, and then collect just $100 in adoption fees.
Fundraisers and donations help the shelter cover these pricey medical treatments.
“We’ll do fundraisers for just medical expenses, because you never know when you’re going to need it,” Parent says.
The Washougal shelter usually has 40 to 50 cats, and the number of dogs varies week to week.
The local Humane Society, located at 2675 Index St., Washougal, always welcomes donations. To see a full wish list, visit wcghs.org/donate/wish-list.