As part of their annual Christian Service Project, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School fifth graders will be collecting pet food, toys, and gently used blankets and towels during the first week of October to donate to OC Animal Care, Orange County’s open admission animal shelter. The organization strives to save the lives of all healthy, treatable, and manageable dogs and cats in the community by hosting monthly adoption events, recruiting volunteer foster caretakers, and partnering with local non-profits and rescue groups. St. Francis students hope to improve the lives of the animals cared for at the shelter and allow more animals a chance to be adopted.

“We are calling this Francis’ Fury Friends,” said fifth grade teacher, Morgen O’Connell. The students are extremely excited about this new endeavor and are committed to making it a success.”

The project coincides with St. Francis’ annual Blessing of the Animals event held each year on October 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, and the school’s namesake.  Students, faculty, staff, and families join an array of dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, fish, hamsters, horses and many others, to be blessed at this charming event. OC Sheriff’s Department and the Redondo Beach Police Department attend with K-9s and other local rescue organizations also take part.

“Blessing of the Animals is a special affair on campus that brings together our school and local community members as we honor the tremendous love and service given to the human race by the animal kingdom,” said St. Francis Principal, Tom Waszak. “Adding an element of Christian Service to the tradition by collecting physical gifts for needy animals allows our students the opportunity to make a tangible impact through their activities.”

“Participating in a service project that directly benefits a cause our students care deeply about allows them to experience what it means to genuinely make a difference in their community. They see their beliefs put into action and that is the true spirit of St. Francis,” explains fifth grade teacher, Judy Russell.

Christian Service Projects are a powerful way St. Francis students see the Gospel in action. These endeavors enables students to experience what it means to help people not because they want to be "nice," or because they expect to "get something back in return," but because of a genuine connection felt to others as God's children.

Donations to Francis’ Fury Friends can be dropped off at the school October 2 – 6, 2017.

In order to keep the children and their pets safe, the Blessing of the Animals event is open to students, parents, family guests, and invited media only.

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, located in the foothills of Yorba Linda, CA, is dedicated to developing students from preschool through 8th grade as Christ–centered individuals with an academic focus.