Pay it Forward Day nets bounty for Charlotte County SPCA

lian goodall/Courier From left: SSES students Lucy Chambers, Levi Chambers, Amelia Babcock, and Thomas Bloj prepare donated pet food for delivery.

ST. STEPHEN – Teacher/guidance counsellor, Kim Weeks, has been at St. Stephen Elementary School (SSES) for 19 out of the 24 years of her career. One might think she has experienced everything, yet Weeks admits she was “losing sleep” over organizing a special campaign leading up to Pay it Forward Day.

Pay it Forward Day, held Apr. 28, “Is a global initiative that exists to make a difference by creating a ripple of kindness across our community,” says the SSES poster. Last year, the school collected 2,000 boxes of donated cereal. “The cereal box challenge got huge,” Weeks says, “when it was posted as a challenge through Spree [Lifestyle Boutique and Studio]. They put it out as a video, a challenge to the community. Once the community is involved, it’s fabulous how it builds. It’s the same this year,” Weeks tells.

The Charlotte County SPCA (CCSPCA) was chosen as the recipient of this year’s Pay it Forward efforts.

“With COVID we haven’t been able to collect for the SPCA,” Weeks says. “Usually when the kids have a fundraiser, like a sock hop, they always want the money to go to the SPCA, but they haven’t been able to do it. We want to make up for not doing that for the last few years.”

The call went out through posters and other means to bring in “cat and dog food (wet and dry), cat and dog treats, toys, paper towels, basic cleaning supplies, or even monetary donations would be appreciated.” Classes and community groups responded at once to help reach the goal of three truckloads of donations. Other donors included Bone Physio and Wellness, Harper’s Exotic Animals and Pet Supplies, Lake Utopia Paper Mill, and Spree, among others.

Youth Services Supervisor Aimee Hanson at the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County Youth Centre (BGCC) says their clients planned to contribute to the SSES donation. “This group of kids are pretty awesome,” Hanson says in an email to The Saint Croix Courier, “and love every opportunity to help out.” Hanson says the youth began a “donation pile” and “…created a video of our contribution and also asked for community donations.” The video was posted on the BGCC Youth Centre Facebook page and pet items were gathered to contribute for Pay It Forward Day.

At SSES, the pet food and related items were collected and arranged on the stage by class. On Pay it Forward Day, trucks from County Chevrolet Buick GMC, Moffitt Dodge Chrysler, and Downey Ford rolled in to be loaded and deliver the donations to the CCSPCA. Each class brought their food out to load the trucks, because, as Weeks explains, “we wanted it to be a whole class event.”