Students working to purchase animals for needy families

Students at St. Marys Catholic Middle School are preparing to embark on a unique fundraiser. As part of their Heifer International Project, they are hoping to raise enough money to purchase an animal for an impoverished family.Heifer International is a global nonprofit organization based in Little Rock, Ark. For more than 65 years, the organization has worked to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way through gifts of livestock, seeds, trees and extensive training. The program empowers millions of families, helping to lift them out of poverty and hunger and allowing them to be self-reliant. Stoltz explained that families who receive an animal agree to participate in the organization’s Pass on the Gift strategy, where they give away the animal’s first offspring to another family in their community. Families also exchange knowledge, training and resources pertaining to the animal.Student Council President Madison Stoltz explained that there are a variety of animals available for purchase, depending on the amount of money raised.The students’ ultimate goal is to purchase a heifer, a female cow, for $500. Additional monetary increments include $250 for a water buffalo, $150 for a llama, $120 for a sheep, pig or goat, $60 for rabbits, $30 for honeybees or $20 for a flock of chicks. The school fundraiser is set to begin next week and will continue for two weeks. During that time, students can choose to pay $1 to participate in a dress-down day or donate spare change in cans located throughout the school.“We have been doing projects throughout the year where Student Council gives money to the American Cancer Society and St. Marys Christian Food Bank. We wanted to take it one step further by helping a family in another country,” Stoltz said.SMCMS Vice-Principal Sharon Minnick proposed the idea to Student Council during a recent meeting. The group chose to adopt the project.“This is our first year doing this project, but if it’s successful we will probably do it in the future,” Stoltz said.For more on this edition, see the Dec. 7 edition of The Daily Press.