Eight-year-old Emma Smith, from Pasadena did a fundraiser this summer for shelter dogs. And then another, and another. And this month she is making and selling handcrafted mask holders to help the pooches at the Senior Dog Sanctuary in Severn.
So far the elementary student has raised well over $750 for animals, her mom Renee said, not including the pet supplies she has collected.
“I like helping out animals,” she said. “I think every animal should have a nice loving home.”
Mom Renee Smith said the effort started out for Emma as a passion project for her elementary class. Then Emma decided to give up receiving gifts for her birthday. Instead she accepted gifts for the unwanted dogs at the Anne Arundel County animal shelter,
She said it wasn’t hard to make the sacrifice.
“I don’t need toys much,” Emma said, “so I thought helping the dogs would be better.”
Her effort was productive from the start.
“She asked her family and friends in lieu of gifts to please give donations for the Animal Control for Anne Arundel County in Millersville,” Renee Smith wrote in an email. “She filled up (2) 30 gallon Tupperware bins filled with food, supplies, and toys that were listed on the Animal Control website. We dropped them off outside the center.”
The name of her project is “Paws 4 Animals”. It has its own Facebook page.
“Her reason behind her slogan was she wants people to "pause (paws)" and think about the animals in need,” Renee wrote. “She wanted to be able to help out homeless animals but also educate people about them.”
She has gotten some peoples' attention. Over 100 people now follow her Facebook page. And that’s where you also can find the link to a recent TV news story on her, done by WJZ CBS in Baltimore.
Her follow-up fundraisers were for Unconditional Love Pet Rescue, an Arkansas shelter where the Smith’s got one of their own dogs—Finnegan. Emma sold chapstick key chains for that drive.
Then in August she began selling beaded mask-holders she was making and raised $400 for
the Baltimore BARC shelter’s Franky Fund. That effort was successful enough so that she has continued with a September sale of the mask-holders for the Senior Dog Sanctuary.
Although with school starting her studies now take up much of her time, Emma wants to continue to support one new shelter each month. She managed to find enough time this month to already fulfill one order of 50 mask-holders for the essential workers at Spring Arbor Senior Living in Crofton.
Making a mask-holder can take Emma 10 minutes. But if the design is of a more creative variety that she is envisioning in the moment, it can take her upwards of 20 minutes to complete.
“She can be a stickler for this,” her mom Renee said. And sometimes she’ll even change her mind on the appropriate design for a particular item.
Emma has gotten help with production from her friends, as well her little sister Paige. But Paige’s six-year-old arms can get tired quickly stringing the beads, mom said.
For the young fundraiser, the hundreds of dollars the have been donated have been an introduction to the world of dollars and sense. Previously the most money she handled was to spend $30 of birthday funds online.
“The most money I spent was on something like slime,” Emma said. “I like slime. You can just pull it apart.”
Emma has plans in the works for the creation of Breast Cancer Awareness Month inventory, and even some Halloween items. She will also create bracelets for donors if they prefer them to the popular mask-holders, she said.