Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)


WESLEY CHAPEL — Sloppy Joes, crispy chicken bites and the "lean machine combo" were among the lunch menu offerings for students at Wesley Chapel Elementary School. But while making their way to the food line, students passed by more than 3,000 cans and bags of pet food stacked against the cafeteria wall.

Collecting all that food in just a few weeks an impressive feat for members of the school's safety patrol. It was also a tangible reminder for others about the furry creatures in need of a helping hand.

Not that kids require much nudging.

Once again Wesley Chapel students showed their affinity for animals by pitching in to the Safety Patrol's annual "Wild Cat" Community Service project. Last year students and faculty donated 5,000 pet food items to Labor of Love Animal Rescue, Inc., a nonprofit volunteer organization that rescues and finds homes for strays and helps stem the feral cat population through the TNR (trap, neuter and return) program in Pasco and Hillsborough counties. This year the school partnered with Veterans Elementary students which donated about 800 pet food items during its Furry February food drive.

"It gives them a chance to show compassion and give back to the community," said physical education teacher and safety patrol sponsor Christopher Gorman.

And perhaps, get a little something in return.

Those who donated 10 cans or more were given an honorary safety patrol pin; 200 cans or more guarantees entrance to the patrol's end-of-year Water Slide Celebration. A shiny, tall trophy goes to whoever brings the most.

"I think they're having fun," said safety patrol captain Olivia March, 11, who helped coordinate the project and dole out incentives with Savannah Kowalski, 11.

Prizes are nice, but even better is the basic good thought behind it.

"I just want to help keep cats alive and safe," Savannah said. "And I want them to have a good home."

Newsmakers 03/13/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2014 2:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.