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Mars student collects items for humane society

| Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, 7:09 p.m.
Morgan Raabe, a fifth-grader at Centennial Elementary School in the Mars Area School District, sorts through some of the items her classmates donated to the Butler County Humane Society.Raabe spearheaded the collection.

At first, Morgan Raabe and her two siblings talked about donating their Halloween candy to the Mars Home for Youth, but never actually got around to it.

But that spirit of giving never left Morgan, a fifth-grader at Mars Area Centennial School. Instead, she came up with the idea of collecting donations for the Butler County Humane Society — everything from pet food and treats to paper towels and newspapers.

The response, nearly two carloads of items, “is amazing,” said Morgan, whose family has five pets: three dogs, a guinea pig and a Chinese dwarf hamster.

Morgan is the daughter of Jeff and Michelle Raabe of Adams.

Centennial Principal Todd Lape said Morgan initially suggested collecting items in her classroom before he suggested a schoolwide effort.

“Far be it from me to stifle their enthusiasm,” Lape said, adding that he was proud of the hard work of Morgan and the students.

Jill Hall, volunteer and events coordinator for the Connoquenessing shelter, said, “It's unbelievable when we hear these types of stories, especially considering the amount of things I'm told they've collected.”

Accepting the donations means that the shelter “is able to use funds for other things,” Hall said, such as medical care for the animals and everyday operating expenses.

Hall couldn't say how many items are donated annually to the shelter. But she said that “there's rarely a day when someone is not dropping off donations.” Sometimes, the donation is as small as a single bag of treats or a couple cans of food, Hall said.

Other times, as in the case of Raabe's family, there are carloads of items.

Most schools in the Mars School District have done some type of service project, including collecting food for the Lighthouse Foundation Food Bank and coats and other winter items for students and families. A toy drive benefited the Childlife department of Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or

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