For the past eight years, the students of Monmouth Academy have been helping animals by. . . drinking soda. Yep, you heard me right. It may seem like a simple thing, putting your bottles into a recycling bin. I mean, what is anyone going to do with five cents? But they do not know how many animals are helped with these bottles.

This all started in 1996 when one class learned the hard truth of the Holocaust. They wondered, like so many others, how could we help? They came up with the idea of redeeming bottles. But whom would they collect the money for? After researching many charities they decided to do something local. Who can we help locally, they wondered. After the suggestion of animals was made, it was quickly agreed upon.

After collecting $50 from the bottles each year, the money is sent to the PALS center. The next $50 is sent to the Kennebunk Humane Society. This usually happens two times a year. During the year if anyone hears about a center that has received a large amount of special animals the money will quickly be sent to help them. Over the past few years Monmouth Academy has donated more than $500.

After so many years of donating money, the shelters have become almost expectant of the money. They say that there is always something that they need. Occasionally they ask if we could collect something else, like blankets for kittens or paper towels.

Now you may be asking, what exactly happens with this money? Well, I know of one dog that was helped with this money. This dog had a growth on his leg that extended into his bone. Because of this, his leg had to be amputated. Just at that time, the money from Monmouth Academy arrived. This money was focused on the dog. It helped to pay for the operation, bandages, and extra things he needed. Soon he was ready for adoption.

Ever since this started, the runner of this, Ms. Gail Sisto, would take about two bags of bottles and cans out every week and redeem them. However, this was put on hold about three years ago after an accident she had. Luckily, last year a student, Kayla Pease, asked if they could start collecting again and they did. So thanks to the students who started this program, Kayla for getting it running again, and the dedicated workers out for getting to where we are today.

Now that soda is not sold in the school anymore, fewer bottles have been donated. But thanks to the dedicated students of Monmouth Academy, who simply drop their bottles and cans into the recycling bin or bring a few in from home we can still donate money to these great causes.

You may be reading this as a member of the community and start saying to yourself, I want to help. Well, you can. Just bring in empty, recyclable cans and bottles to Monmouth Academy. You can also just donate money directly to any local shelter. Next time you go to throw away that soda bottle thinking five cents won’t help anyone, think again, because it could possibly help save a life.

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