GREAT KIDS: 13-year old was too young to volunteer but found a way with her love for cats

Teen raises money for animal shelter
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 5:13 PM EST
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EAST HARTFORD, CT. (WFSB) - A middle school student demonstrated what it means to care for animals and give back at the same time.

When 13-year-old Eva Baird learned about no kill cat shelter in need of help, she wanted to volunteer.

The only problem was Eva needs to be 18 to volunteer at the shelter.

“When I got my cat Betty, I realized I really liked cats and I wanted to help out with them,” said Eva.

Eva wanted to help just like her neighbor Joyce Willing with the same love for cats.

“We bonded right away because she had her cat Betty, and I had my cats. We started talking cats,” Willing said. “It was an automatic connection.”

Willing regularly volunteered at the no kill cat shelter in East Hartford called the Protector of Animals.

She pitched an idea that Eva could help with to get involved.

Eva said, “my family kept putting bottles in the recycling can and Joyce that I could help her redeem the bottles together.”

From that point on, they collected bottles and redeemed the money.

During the first year, Eva collected $150 which grew to $180 the next year. However, this year Eva and Willing reached a record goal.

“I just wanted to break $1,000 this year,” Willing said. “It ended up being more than $1,400!”

The bottle collecting paid off more than they expected it to over the past few years.

Eva said, “I didn’t think it would be easy or hard. I just went with it.”

The money goes directly to the Animal Protectors shelter to help for spaying and neutering cats.

“It takes a lot of money to run the shelter,” Eva said. “Each year we’re making more money and helping the shelter even more.”

Eva was not old enough to volunteer at the shelter, but she found a way to still help out.