DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
Who knew selling 50-cent bags of popcorn could help change the lives of homeless dogs and cats, but it did.
“The kids spent the two nights before (Dec. 21) popping popcorn, and then they sold it on the Polar Express Day for fifty cents a bag,” said Colt Elementary School teacher Bobbie Green.
Polar Express Day was the last day of class before the Christmas break. The Colt Student Leadership, an organization made up of 13 students, sold the popcorn as part of a fundraising effort.
While 50 cents a bag doesn’t sound like much, students raised $457.
“Yeah, it was a lot of popcorn,” Green added.
The funds, the students decided, would be used to purchase pet food and supplies for Stray Acres Sanctuary and Animal Rescue, located outside of Bertram. Crystal and Steve Mitchell began the operation in 2012.
Even before creating the nonprofit rescue, the Mitchells had been taking in strays over the years. Since starting the facility, they estimated they’ve taken in about 300 dogs and cats along with a few horses and other critters.
Taking care of that many animals — though they adopt out a high number — takes a lot of resources. The couple works full time along with running the sanctuary.
So when Colt Elementary School officials reached out to them about the students’ efforts, the Mitchells were happy to make the drive from Bertram to the Marble Falls campus Jan. 10 to accept the donated items.
The Mitchells also brought along a couple of four-legged guests — Remi and Fenix, two of their own dogs.
Remi and Fenix were clearly the stars of the visit.
The Mitchells told the students about their facility and how it’s not just a shelter but a sanctuary. As a sanctuary, Steve said, dogs and cats that aren’t adoptable or, for whatever reason, don’t get placed in homes, can live out the rest of their lives on the property.
Colt Student Leadership consists of one student from each third-grade through fifth-grade class on campus who underwent a selection process and election to join the organization. Green said each student submitted an application, which included referrals from their teachers, a written description of a leader, and what leadership skills that student believed they possessed. Students must also have an 80 average in class and a 90 percent or better attendance rate.
Once the application process was completed, candidates gave speeches in their classrooms, and their fellow classmates then voted to send one to the leadership group.
It wasn’t an easy group to join, Green pointed out.
Activities such as the popcorn fundraiser and donation to Stray Acres Sanctuary and Animal Rescue are all about learning to be community leaders, Green added.
“It’s about helping the community,” she said, “including the community outside the school.”
The Mitchells certainly appreciated the students’ efforts.
“Thank you so much,” Crystal Mitchell said. “This helps so much. It really makes a difference.”
Go to strayacressanctuary.org for more information on Stray Acres or call (512) 525-4710 or (830) 613-7723.