By SHANNON CAULFIELD
The Shamong Sun
Christmas and Hanukah are truly the seasons of giving, especially for 8-year-old Isabel Kagan.
Kagan approached her parents before the Christmas season, explaining she did not want gifts this year. Instead, she wanted to donate money and items needed at The Voorhees Animal Orphanage.
“I just really didn’t want any presents,” said Kagan, who also donated toys on her birthday. “I wanted to donate more things.”
Kagan chose the orphanage following a trip there with her daycare. She felt bad after noticing an abundance of pitbulls up for adoption.
“I wanted to make them more comfortable with things that they needed,” she said. “They really needed peanut butter, bleach and beds for dogs.”
Family members made monetary donations in lieu of gifts over the holidays, raising a total of $360.
Additionally, her mother, Dawn, held a collection at work for anyone wanting to add to the cause.
Kagan’s classroom was involved as well.
“My teacher made an announcement that if anyone wanted to donate that they could talk to my parents because we can collect anything in school,” she said.
Kagan and her parents, Jeff and Dawn, went shopping utilizing the wish list posted by the orphanage.
“I think it was great. It’s the way she is, she’s a very giving kid,” said Jeff. “I told her that it didn’t mean that Santa wouldn’t bring her anything, but we’re proud.”
According to Dawn, family members and especially grandparents, really wanted to give gifts to Isabel for the holidays.
“They bought her something small. Whatever money was leftover they would have spent was donated to Isabel,” she said.
With the donation, the Kagans were able to purchase three cartloads worth of items for the shelter.
Kagan enjoys visiting the orphanage and meeting the dogs for adoption.
“I like to look at all the different dogs and how cute they are,” she said. “We want them to find homes, because I don’t like them staying in one place for too long.”
Kagan has convinced her friends’ families to choose adoption as well from area orphanages or animal shelters.
“I always offer to help find them dogs. I always ask them what type of dog they want and then I’ll do the research,” said Dawn, noting she is currently helping a friend in California find a dog.
The Kagans currently have two adopted dogs. They don’t foresee adding to the family, but will always have a dog in the family.
“We will always adopt our dogs,” Dawn added.
The family follows the orphanage’s Facebook page to see which animals find forever homes.
Kagan is planning on holding another donation drive for her birthday in August.
The Kagans aren’t actively accepting donations, but suggests making a monetary donation to area shelters.
“I would recommend any orphanage you’ve become familiar with to donate,” Kagan said, giving advice to those wanting to donate in the future. “You should really donate to a place where you know the dogs are in good hands and isn’t cruel to the animals.”
For more information on the orphanage, visit www.theanimalorphanage.org.