Connor Vece wanted to make sure no animal went hungry in his hometown.
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Conner in van with collection of pet food filled in the back
Credit: Courtesy of Mary Correia

Mary Correia was explaining to her grandson, Connor Vece, how food drives work when the 7-year-old asked if there were food drives for pets. Connor was curious if anyone ever gave food to the cats and dogs in animal shelters. That's when the second grader came up with a wonderful idea. 

"He said, 'I want to give my money to the dogs!'" Correia, who is also Connor's legal guardian, tells Daily Paws. "I asked if he wanted to do a pet food drive where we can collect dog food right in front of our house, and he said yes."

So, Connor and his grandmother set out to create a pet food drive where people in their town of East Haven, Conn., could donate money, food, and other supplies to their local animal rescue East Haven Animal Shelter

Correia put up some flyers, Connor's stepmother stood in the driveway with a megaphone, and Correia's daughter dressed up in a dog costume ready to collect donations. The family played some music and waited to see if anyone would show up to donate. 

They didn't have to wait too long before the entire town—including the mayor and a state representative—showed up to donate to Connor's pet food drive. The drive, which the family held last Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., raised over $2,000 for the shelter. Connor and his family also collected dog food, cat food, cat beds, crates, cleaning supplies, and more. 

The highlight of the day came when an organization called the Connecticut Beach Cruisers rolled up in several Jeeps and donated an "entire truck full" of animal supplies. "If you saw the amount of donations these people gave, you wouldn't believe it," Correia says. 

Connor wasn't always a big animal lover, his grandmother tells Daily Paws. It wasn't until last year, when their 14-year-old dog named Cheetah passed away, that Connor became much more sensitive about the well-being of dogs and other animals.

A spokesperson for the East Haven Animal Shelter tells Daily Paws they were happy to agree to receive donations from Connor's pet food drive. "The family reached out to us and asked if they could do the event to raise money and donations for the shelter. We of course agreed."

Correia said the donations filled up two whole vans. "You couldn't even fit a dog treat in there if you tried, it was so full!" she laughed. "Anything you could use for a dog, cat or pet—we collected it."

Even though the food drive is over, Correia says Connor is still continuing to give back to the East Haven Animal Shelter. "Yesterday, my son gave Connor $20 and told him that he did a great job with the food drive. Later, I told Connor I had to go to the dog shelter because I have to bring them this check I got in the mail and he said, 'Here, give them this $20 too I don't need it.'"

What a selfless animal lover you are, Connor! We're sure the pets at East Haven Animal Shelter are grateful to have a friend like you.