Cash for kitties

Published 10:14 am Friday, November 28, 2008

Southland Elementary School students are full today.

The Thanksgiving holiday came and went, leaving them feeling full, but not as in glutened or gorged. Instead, they feel full as in whole … complete … sufficient.

Before leaving school Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Southland Elementary student council did a good deed: They donated money to Camp Companion, a non-profit organization helping to reduce the population of feral cats through spaying and neutering.

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The student council raised money during a Belgian waffle fundraiser breakfast at the school in October when they offered visitors a coat check in school lockers.

A student council officer’s mother donated $20 to the students’ fundraising efforts.

In the end, their efforts resulted in a $70 donation to Camp Companion.

“The students have raised money before for special causes, such as the Southland emergency food shelf, but they haven’t picked a specific organization such as Camp Companion to help before today,” explained Paulette Lewis, student council adviser. “Whatever we do we take the money we make and put it back into the community or the school district from where it came.

“This time I asked them what they wanted to do with their money and they unanimously chose Camp Companion,” Lewis said. “I’m very happy with the results of their efforts.”

Leila Hansen, president of the student council, said, “It makes me feel really good to be able to help the animals this way, because then they can have a better life.”

Michele Quandt, a Camp Companion volunteer, drove to Rose Creek Wednesday to accept the donation from the students.

“We really appreciate their generosity,” Quandt said. “It will go to a good use I can assure you.”

Camp Companion is dedicated to preventing homeless or unwanted companion animals in southeastern Minnesota, according to Quandt.

Their 10-county southeastern Minnesota coverage area has sent volunteers into Mower County to help with feral cat problems.

The organization’s volunteers facilitate affordable spay/neuter clinics and network with local shelters, rescue organizations and individuals to facilitate permanent placement of displaced animals and reuniting lost or found companion animals with their owners.

Camp Companion also provides public education about all pertinent humane issues, according to Quandt.

Camp Companion got its start in 2004, according to Quandt.

“I think we are making a lot of progress,” she said. “We did over 1,000 cats last year and our goal is to reach 1, 250 this year.

“We feel if we can keep up this pace for 10 years, we will actually see a decline in the amount of cats going to the humane society shelters,” she added.

The homeless cats are spayed/neutered and also receive all their shots when Camp Companion corrals them.

Because many of them are farm cats, they are returned to the farm after the spaying/neutering, immunization services are done.

“They have a job on the farm and are there for a purpose,” she said.

For more information about Camp Companion go online to

The Southland Elementary School student council held a book fair earlier this week and will begin collecting non-perishable food items for the district’s emergency food pantry in December.

For more information about helping the community service projects, call the school at 437-3214.