LAWRENCEVILLE - Students of the Primrose School of Buford delivered more than 500 pounds of dog and cat food Thursday to the Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center.
With the help of a few teachers and parents, the preschoolers and kindergartners toted the bags of kibble into the new shelter on Winder Highway in Lawrenceville.
The students collected the food in January for the "Food for Precious Pets" project, said Jenifer McKnight, the co-owner of the school. Each month, the children participate in a "caring and giving" project, she said.
Arturo McClenton, whose daughter, Briona attends Primrose, said the school does a great job of teaching the children about morals. He said he thinks the pet food drive helped the children learn about compassion.
"They'll learn some great values from this," he said. "It will teach them to look at the world outside of where they live."
Belle Wiggs, 4, said she thought the visit to the animal shelter was "really fun."
When asked why her school donated the pet food, she said, "So the puppies can feel better."
Tonia Bell said her son, 4-year-old Connor, was excited about the trip because he thought he would be able to feed the pets housed in the
shelter. The students weren't able to do that, but they were able to tour the shelter to look in the cages and pet a dog and a kitten.
Bell said the trip might help the children realize that a lot of cats and dogs don't have a home.
"It teaches them there are more people and more animals who are not as fortunate as they are," she said.
After seeing how many animals are in the shelter, Bell said her son might talk to his friends, which could encourage more adoptions.
Before the children toured the building, Officer Chris Hughes told the group that 10,000 animals were brought into the shelter last year. Less than half made it out.
Hughes, who is the center's rescue coordinator, said she talks to several groups, and she gives the children basic information about what the Animal Welfare and Enforcement Center does. She tells the children how the center tries to reunite lost pets with their owners, how they take sick animals to the vet and how they take in animals when their owners aren't able to care for them any longer.
Hughes also tells the students that the shelter is a good place to adopt a dog or a cat.
"I think it's great exposure to the shelter," she said of the school's visit. "It makes them aware we're here, and it plants a seed for them."