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Caz artist raises $225 for stray animals

Student drew pictures, donated funds to Wanderers’ Rest

Cazenovia resident Helena Bonavita hands over $225 she raised selling her original artwork to Wanderers’ Rest Humane Association Executive Director Mark Christensen on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.

Cazenovia resident Helena Bonavita hands over $225 she raised selling her original artwork to Wanderers’ Rest Humane Association Executive Director Mark Christensen on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Louis Bonavita

— Last year, a fourth grader at Burton Street Elementary School spent her extracurricular time raising money in hopes of donating to Wanderers’ Rest Humane Association in Canastota.

Helena Rose Bonavita, of Cazenovia, decided to draw and color pictures of animals and sell them to her family, friends and teachers for $1 a piece. On Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, Bonavita and her parents visited the nearby animal shelter and presented Executive Director Mark Christensen with a check for $225 — just in time for the holidays.

Bonavita said she decided to undertake this effort after seeing stray dogs wandering in her neighborhood during Thanksgiving weekend. “I felt bad that these animals didn’t have homes and weren’t loved,” she said.

After school and on weekends, Bonavita spent hours drawing hundreds of pictures and distributing them for sale at school, and her parents’ and aunt’s place of work.

“We’re very proud of Helena for undertaking this noble effort and seeing it to completion” her parents, Lou and Angie Bonavita, told the Republican.

After Bonavita handed over the proceeds from her fundraising efforts, she and her family were given a tour of the facility by Wanderers’ Rest employee Dee Schaefer. Following the special tour, the Bonavitas got to see firsthand how the shelter operates.

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Helena Bonavita visits with a bulldog currently housed at Wanderer’s Rest Humane Association in Canastota on Dec. 21. Bonavita, a fourth grade student at Burton Street Elementary School in Cazenovia, personally donated $225 she raised for the animal shelter.

Wanderers’ Rest has been in existence for more than 32 years, and is the only animal shelter for dogs and cats for all of Madison County. To date this year, the organization has taken in more than 600 dogs and 900 cats that have either been abandoned or abused. No animal is ever refused.

The shelter boasts an 85 percent adoption rate and only euthanize animals with terminal illnesses or who are a threat to harm other animals or humans.

A majority of their operating budget is based on donations from the community.

Those interested in making their own monetary donation, dropping-off food or litter, or considering adopting a lovable cat or dog, are invited to contact Wanderer’s Rest at 697-2796. For more information, visit wanderersrest.org.

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