April 22, 2009 Edition

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Macy Penn shows some of the food she has collected to benefit the Greene County Animal Farm.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Young girls decision sparks
effort to help animal shelter

Gretchen Hunt
Editor

When Macy Penn, age eight, heard a news report about a nearby animal shelter that is struggling to continue funding its program, she decided to pitch in and help.

Her mother, Angel Penn, said Macy immediately decided to take all the allowance she had saved and buy food for the animals.

The shelter, Greene County Animal Farm, is facing financial difficulties due to a decrease in giving, as well as damage from the recent ice storm.

Macy's desire to help the shelter has spread quickly to others, starting with her little sister, Delaney, age three, who has also given her allowance. Angel said as people have told others about Macy's project, they have contributed, as well.

"We have about 300 pounds of food now," Angel said.

Brenda Ramthun, director of the Greene County Animal Farm, said their biggest need is for dog food. They currently have 56 dogs at the shelter and 30 in foster care, some of which they provide food for, as well.

"We use 16 50-pound bags of dog food a week," she said. "That is $350-400 a week just for the food."

Tuesday morning, local residents will have an opportunity to contribute when Macy will host a dog and cat food drive at Hays in Walnut Ridge. Radio stations KFIN and KISS FM have joined forces with the Penns to promote the event, and will be doing a live remote from 6:30-9 a.m. at the store.

Angel said Hays has also pledged 1,000 pounds of dog food and will match pound-for-pound donations purchased at the drive.

Ramthun said efforts such as Macy's is what it will take for the shelter to continue its work.

"I think its absolutely precious and fabulous that she's doing this," she said.

The Walnut Ridge second-grader, whose teacher is Karen Wallin, is excited that what started as a personal decision to help the shelter has grown to be a community effort. She has been involved in all aspects of the planning and implementation of the project.

"I made up a business plan on how to get everything done," Macy said. "I'm really excited and glad we are going to be able to help the shelter as it helps take care of the animals."

Ramthun said they have had some other benefactors, as well, including Sam's in Jonesboro, who recently donated 100 20-pound bags of cat food. Ramsons Construction did some roofing work for the shelter, and Dacus Fence donated some chain-link fencing.

"We will probably still be doing repairs through mid-summer," Ramthun said.

Macy and her father, Mark, are planning to deliver the food to the shelter after the drive is completed.

Those who want to contribute food are invited to do so on Tuesday morning. Anyone who would like to donate time or money to the shelter can call 870-240-8117.

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