Six ways kids can help animals in need

Kids love pets. When it comes time to pick a volunteer opportunity, it’s not unusual for kids to gravitate toward helping out animals in need. Unfortunately, many shelters and rescues are not able to accept volunteers under 18 because of insurance issues.

There are still plenty of ways to help out if you connect with your local shelter or rescue. Here are a six tips.

1. Host a supply drive – Find out from your local organization what items on their wish list are most needed. Then, host a drive at your school, place of worship and at local pet-friendly businesses. It’s puppy and kitten season, so many organizations are in need of special food and formula.

2. Start your own fundraising campaign – You can host a bake sale, a penny or coin drive, or start an online campaign for fundraising. Firstgiving and FundRazr are just two places where you can set up a page to raise funds for your favorite group.

3. Recycle for the animals – Shelters are always in need of newspapers, old blankets, towels and sheets to help them keep the kennels clean and pets warm. Some shelters also take recyclables like ink jet cartridges and they are able to turn them in for cash.

4. Get crafty – If you like to make no-sew blankets or fleece pull toys, shelters can always use the blankets and toys for the dogs and cats they are caring for.

5. Educate – Invite a local advocacy group or someone from a rescue to speak at your school or organization. Many organizations have age appropriate programs to present to talk about a range of topics from adoption to preventing animal abuse to puppy mills.

6. Start a club – You may also want to start a club at your school that focuses on animal welfare and gives you more opportunities to help the animals.

If you are hosting a supply drive or raising funds, don’t be afraid to reach out to your local pet supply stores or pet-friendly businesses. They may have items to donate and may also let you set up a table on weekends to help your cause.

Kathy Mordini is a freelance writer that covers the Chicago animal rescue community and pet trends. She writes daily on she also blogs for ‘Tails Media Group‘ and ChicagoNow.’  Read her column online and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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