More than 10 years ago, Harper College administrative secretary Jennifer Pitek set out to help the furry felines in Illinois' animal rescues by launching Santa Claus for Paws. The annual pet food drive, later expanded to include canines, has netted thousands of pounds of donated food over the last decade.
Pitek and Harper instructor Jamie Leinss-Doyle are back at it this holiday season, seeking dry and canned food for puppies, dogs, kittens and cats, as well as beds and gently used linens for the adoptable pets. Pitek said animal shelters are still bustling with animals and forced to do more with less.
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"Many of them are in dire need," Pitek said. "The rescues continue to be inundated with calls and the problem seems to be endless. Simple gestures by the community can make a big difference for these organizations."
While last year's Santa Claus for Paws yielded nearly 350 pounds of food, 90 toys, dozens of blankets and towels and even a costume, the numbers were down from past efforts and Pitek hopes to reverse the trend. Items will be accepted through Monday, Dec. 23, and again after Harper's campus reopens Thursday, Jan. 2, through Friday, Jan. 17.
Donations will be sent to Cinderella's Hope in the Carpentersville/West Dundee area and the downstate Cache Creek Animal Rescue.
Donation drop boxes are located at the Center for New Students (C104) in Building C; the Math Lab (Room D105) and Career and Technical Programs (Room D191) in Building D; the Business and Social Science Division Office (Room J249) and the Box Office (Room J135) in Building J; the Career Center (A347) and the main entrance in Building A; Math and Science (Y103), Health Career Programs (X250), the first floor of Building X and the main entrance of Building Z in the Avante Center; and the Liberal Arts Division Office (L203) in Building L. All buildings are on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine.