A Muheim Elementary School student is proving that even the smallest person can make a big difference.
Over the past few weeks, eight-year-old Claire McAulay has been spearheading a project to gather bottles of dish soap, bleach, fruits and vegetables to donate to the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter to help the 34 bears currently in residence.
“I’m super happy that this happened,” said Claire, an animal-lover. “The cubs were so cute and I just wanted to do something to help.”
Claire and Madame Pesce’s Grade 3 class made the presentation to the shelter’s owner, Angelika Langen last week.
By last Thursday, the class had collected seven large bottles of dish soap, a few containers of bleach, and three large boxes of fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, cabbage and zucchini to give to the shelter.
“One little boy brought an apple from his lunch because he wanted to contribute something,” said teacher Liliana Pesce.
“I think the kids just saw this as a way of pitching in for a community member who did a lot for the community and with the animals.”
Claire first came up with the idea to help the cubs after reading an article in The Interior News a few weeks ago.
“I saw in the newspaper that there were 30 little cubs and they looked so cute,” she said. “[The article] said they needed food for them to hibernate and they were supposed to be 70 pounds, but they’re only 20. They’re really underweight and I just really wanted to do something.”
That night, she made a poster and brought it to show the class. The following day, she plastered them around the school and went to all the intermediate classes seeking donations.
“[Claire’s] a very sensitive little girl and very in tune to the needs of others,” said Pesce, adding that it’s important to support kids who come up with ideas to help others.
Langen said the donation is a big help to the shelter, especially with the addition of four more cubs over the past few weeks.
“Young kids reaching out and wanting to help animals, that’s what we want to instill in them,” said Langen. “For them to make an effort, that is just incredible. . . every little bit helps to take care of the animals.”
Claire’s mother Sandra said she has always had a knack for helping others.
“She’s always been very interested in helping others and taking on initiatives that she could do to help in the classroom or at her school,” said Sandra, noting that over the summer they visited the shelter during their open house.
“She had a connection to what was happening there. It was her excitement for it that was really key, she was motivated to do something.
“We’re always really proud of her, she does lots of amazing things. This is lovely, but it’s really no surprise.”