One Riverview Middle School student has big plans for small animals this year in Dawson County.
Eleven-year-old Shannon Porter is making it her goal to see that animals at the Dawson County Humane Society have a Merry Christmas with her new charity "Christmas for Critters."
"A couple of weeks ago my mom and I were driving around and we noticed that there [are] charities to help out people, but none for homeless animals," Porter said. "I thought to myself, ‘I'm going to make one. I'm going to start a charity to help, in any way that I can, the humane society.'"
Porter is no stranger to both helping with charities and visiting the local humane society.
She has helped her mother with charities in the past but always felt a strong connection to helping animals.
"I went around my neighborhood selling pencils to raise money for the Dawson County surgical center," said Porter.
"Also, about two years ago, I was given gift cards for Christmas. I decided that instead of using them for myself, I would buy supplies for the [Dawson County] Humane Society."
When told of her daughter's plans, Shannon's mother Cindy Lord was taken aback.
"I thought, ‘That is a great idea,'" Lord said. "But we're so close to Christmas. We have to move now."
Lord contacted Debora Maxwell, director at the local society for her daughter. Maxwell had remembered Porter from being at the society before, working and donating items.
"Debora thought it was a wonderful idea, absolutely," Lord said. "She put me in contact with the society board and media departments."
The entire charity drive has taken place over the span of two weeks.
Porter visited local business in Dawson County to get permission to place drop boxes. The charity is asking for any pet supply, but specifically necessities such as cat food and kitten milk, cat litter, dog and puppy food and leashes for dogs.
A complete list of necessities can be found at www.dawsoncountyhumanesociety.org.
The group is also accepting monetary donations, which will strictly go to the Dawson County Humane Society.
This is the first year that Porter has organized the "Christmas for Critters" drive specifically.
"If this thing is a big hit, we're planning on including other places like the Forsyth [County] Humane Society," Porter said.
"I'm incredibly proud of her. Shannon has always been very giving. She has a very tender spot in her heart for animals. It makes me very proud that she is thinking of other things, other than herself," Lord said.
"Although people disrespect animals, even though they have four legs and are smaller than us, they have feelings too and they deserve a Christmas," Porter said. "I'm only 11, but even if you're small, small things can make a difference."
Donations can be left at drop boxes at Riverview Middle School, Dawsonville city hall and various businesses in Dawson County.
Drop boxes will be in place until Jan. 4.
For more information, call (770) 617-4641 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.