When CC Wellman, founder of Happy Endings Animal Sanctuary, arrived at the Los Olivos Elementary School on Feb. 10 to pick up a "few" donations for her animals from the third-grade class, she was overwhelmed by the generosity and magnitude of their gifts - an entire eight-foot truckload of everything from bags and bags of food, toys, cookies, shampoo, treats, leashes, cash, and handfuls of nickels, dimes and quarters.
Teacher Amy Willis organized the third-grade children to collect donations after they had visited the Sanctuary for an education program early in November.
"Their response was unbelievable," said Wellman. "The children got the entire school community involved. I am speechless, shocked, amazed, and so proud of those kids. This will feed the horses for at least two months and the dogs for around three months."
Following the children's visit to the Sanctuary, Wellman was invited to Los Olivos School to view a skit the students had put together to educate the other children in the school on what Wellman had taught them, and to motivate others to get involved. During her visit, Wellman said she was amazed at how interested the children were in saving lives and kept asking her questions about how to feed their animals better and how to help their animals when they got sick, what to do if they saw an animal in trouble, and of course, all of them wanted to adopt everything they saw whether it was up for adoption or not!
"This gift today makes such a huge difference in the lives of the animals and we are now able to save more lives because of their incredible effort," said Wellman. "It's just amazing. I feel like I'm in shock."
"‘Share and Care' is a very powerful project for the kids because not only are they helping with the animal sanctuary and helping the animals but they are also having an experience of performing community service, working hard for a cause, which many of the kids have not yet experienced - how good it makes them feel to be of service," said Willis. "I hope this type of a project will inspire them to find more opportunities to serve in their communities."
This project is made possible by a grant Willis applied for from a partnership between the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Orfalea Fund and the Santa Barbara County Education Office called the "Care and Share II."