It's been a month, since Dedham's Chrissy Doyle told us about her 3rd Annual Blanket & Towel Drive for the local Animal Rescue League. An animal lover herself, Chrissy has instilled the same appreciation and desire to help in her two children at the Oakdale Elementary School in Dedham.
Two years ago, daughter Grace (grade 4) and son Mickey (grade 2) rallied their classmates and collected “dozens” of blankets and towels to donate to Dedham's Animal Rescue League.
Last year, other classes and more Oakdale teachers got involved in the drive. The results were a success and yielded even more linens for the family to donate.
The Animal Rescue League has been helping animals since 1899. The blankets and towels are used to clean and line their cages, bathe the animals, and provide warm bedding.
The ARL relies on the generosity of folks in the community to help with donations and make these pets as comfortable as possible while they wait to be adopted and leave for their “forever homes.”
With the help of our “local media”, and a strong network of caring families, word of this year's drive spread fast and more and more people “stepped up” to help. At the Oakdale Elementary School, Principal Holli Armstrong was so impressed with their efforts, she offered to make this a school-wide project.
Ms. Armstrong is always available to listen to ideas that come before her and tells us she is “always excited when her students choose to do something meaningful – especially for the community.”
Oakdale Elementary instantly became “headquarters” for this year's drive. Members of the 5th grade Student Council went from class to class on their free time and explained the project to younger students.
Boxes were set in place for the Doyle Family to gather the goods that came to the school. Thanks to the never-ending help of the school's custodian, Stone, things never got out of hand! Nearby, Susan Moses, Director of St. John's Preschool, heard about the drive and contacted the Doyle Family to help.
Dedham's Animal Rescue League has always been good to the students at St. John's, and what better way to say “Thank You.”
Word went out and bags of linens were brought in and turned over to the Doyle Family. What a great effort!
Back at Oakdale, Monica Coghlan (grade 2) told her mother Maureen of the need for linens. Ironically, the family was in the process of cleaning out the grandmother's house.
The Coghlan Family put together 5 huge bags to donate – going from the back of one car to the back of another and straight to Alyssa Kane at the ARL.
One day Chrissy Doyle met a Dedham firefighter in the library. He had read of the Towel Drive and had already put together a bag to donate.
The Doyle Family awoke one morning, to find an enormous U-Haul box on their front stairs … a donation from the Banik Family (Keira grade 4 and Colin grade 3). Extended family members helped out as well.
Jake Reissfelder (grade 2) and Alison St. Georges (grade 1) along with the Malerba Family from Medford did their share. Katie Doyle Hammond, Mike Doyle's sister, had her Girl Scout Troop in Bridgewater hold a Towel Drive to earn a badge this month. The result was over-whelming, and 10 bags of linens were collected to donate.
The Troop plans to drop off the bags in the next few weeks and they have scheduled a tour of the shelter for the girls! Locally, Alexis Stec and Kelly Stanton (both students from the Greenlodge School) brought bags of blankets and towels over for the animals. Mrs. Stec is a 4th grade teacher at Oakdale and her class filled a box.
Thanks to the help of their Aunt Colleen, the Quinn Family put a bag together and Casey (grade 1) and Ryan (grade 4) helped the Roberts Family with their donation.
One worthy side-note – as the Doyle Family shuttled these donations to the ARL, they watched as Alyssa Kane bottle-fed and tended to one tiny orange kitten named “King.” The Doyle Family watched as this little orphan grew stronger and became more independent. King had won the hearts of Chrissy and the kids and the Doyle Family recently “adopted” him as their own!
As we write, donations are still coming in to the Oakdale School. With results like these, it just goes to prove that people really do care, and are willing to help out where needed. It makes us proud to be a part of such a good community ourselves.