Samantha Bailey decided for her birthday party she wanted to do something other than receive gifts from her friends. She wanted to help those in need.
“After seeing a few stories on TV of abused animals and ones looking for homes, she asked me if we could help our local animal shelter,” her mother, Shelley Kelly, recalled in an e-mail.
A Friends of Change program the Sanger youngster frequently watches depicts young people helping their families, Kelly said in a telephone interview. She called the Denton Animal Shelter to find out what its wish list had on it, and then included a note in each of the birthday invitations with the items the shelter needs.
The party on Aug. 18 was a success.
“The parents and girls were great,” Kelly said. “They all brought a few things each, and we collected a lot of dog and cat food, litter, treats, shampoo and towels.”
A delivery to the Denton Animal Shelter was made this week and included about 200 pounds of dog food, about 100 pounds of cat food and 50 pounds of cat litter.
Also in the delivery were some “special” snacks for shelter pets “to brighten their day till their family takes them home,” Samantha told her mother.
“Her friends and family really backed her up on this, and she did a wonderful thing,” Kelly wrote. “For someone so young to give up presents and make a difference was a big eye-opener, and I am very proud of her.”
To Samantha, she hopes other kids will remember that it isn’t about getting presents, it is about giving, and she hopes other youngsters will find something they love and help out where they can.
“I like helping people,” the shy youngster said over the phone. “I wanted to help animals.”
With a home full of pets — dogs, cats, fish and even hermit crabs — Samantha wanted to make sure the shelter tenants were OK, too, she said.
After all, a former tenant is now one of her beloved pets — a shepherd-husky mix named Sasha.
“I hope kids will learn from her and help their community,” Kelly wrote. “They are our future and they are the ones that can make this world a better place.”
Samantha turns 8 years old today.