Bridgeport students open hearts to help animals at Christmas

BRIDGEPORT — Christmas is a time of giving.

The two first-grade classes at Bridgeport Elementary School have taken it one step further.

Instead of the yearly gift exchange between each other, the 40 students came up with a different idea.

“They gave from their hearts,” teacher Charlene Pugh, who along with Rachelle Brinker coordinated the project, explained. “It was decided that they all would bring in a gift for the Belmont County Animal Shelter.”

Pugh said the items collected included food bowls, bags of dog food, leashes, collars, toys, blankets and treats.

“The response was overwhelming,” Pugh added. “Every single student brought in something for a pet.”

Lisa Williams, assistant Belmont County Dog Warden, was on hand to accept the gifts.

“Thank you very much,” she told the students. “This is all some of these animals have. They need donations like this. Once again, thank you.”

Williams didn’t come alone as she brought Pilgrim, a 5-month-old terrier mix with her. She told the students that Pilgrim was available for adoption, which drew a loud chorus of ‘ahhs’ from the youngsters.

This could become an annual event.

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