Girls give up birthday gifts to help animals

By A. Rose Wickler | Witness Correspondent

Maquoketa image1MAQUOKETA — The Jackson County Humane Society now has more donation money thanks to four students at Sacred Heart School in Maquoketa. The girls, second graders all celebrating their birthdays within a month, asked for cash, in lieu of presents, which they donated to the humane society.

“I felt really good about doing it for the animals,” said Finley Starr, one of the birthday girls. “I wanted to keep them from getting sick. I wanted them to live as God’s creatures.”

Starr, Maranda Wood, Audree Kuhlman, and Caroline Otting all celebrate a birthday between March 3 and April 3. With their parents’ guidance, family and friends of the four girls gathered at a local movie theater to watch the new Cinderella movie. Heather Starr, Finley’s mother, knew of someone else who did something similar. She proposed the idea first to the movie theater and then to the parents of the other girls.

“It just happens that the new Cinderella movie was coming out in the middle of the month” said the mother. “The timing worked out and the other girls wanted to see the movie so the parents decided to invite the other students as well as the family and friends of the birthday girls. But with people coming for each individual girl, they didn’t want people to feel that they had to bring gifts for all the girls.”

The idea to donate cash into the community came from there. The parents decided to let the girls determine where the money would be donated.

“We kind of gave them ideas of what options there would be because they’re only in the second grade and it’s not like they’re going to be too familiar within that kind of stuff,” said Heather Starr. “The decision was unanimous — the humane society. They’re all animal lovers and so they wanted to do something really good for the community and the animals and it was sort of a win-win for everyone.”

“I’m proud to see these young ladies set aside their own desires for another being,” added Jenny Litterer, the principal at Sacred Heart School.

Shirley Scholtes of the Jackson County Humane Society says that the money will be used “for a dog who needs a lot dental work (pre-op, blood work, and all that stuff and then toward the actual extraction of the teeth).”

Jackson County Humane Society is always in need of donations because it gets a constant stream of animals, according to Scholtes.

“We’re a rural shelter so people often dump the animals along the country roads and then they are brought into us,” she said. “We’re not county supported.”

The shelter depends entirely on donations and fundraisers since they are not part of the county’s budget. Scholtes added that “any amount of donations that anyone can give” is helpful and beneficial to the animals.


This story is provided courtesy of The Witness, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.