NORTH SALEM, N.Y.— Friends come in all shapes and sizes, and earlier this year, Pequenakonck Elementary School’s  ONE CUB Kindness Initiative made some new four-legged friends when they visited the Our Farm Equine Rescue on Hardscrabble Road in North Salem.  The visit was part of ONE CUB’s expansion to include teaching students about kindness toward pets and animals.

The ONE CUB team decided to use recycling money from bottles and cans donated by students, families, faculty and staff during the months of February, March and April to make a donation to the facility to help feed the rescued horses, as they wait to be adopted and find a forever home.  Sharon Kress, the rescue’s founder, provided an informative guided tour and introduced GiGi, Sadie, Harry, Obie and Nugget ­—the horses she rescued and is currently rehabilitating.  Gazing into the expressive eyes of these beautiful animals, the team knew they had to do something to help this most worthy cause.

The team rallied the troops at PQ and sent a letter home to families announcing the project and asking for bottle donations.  The response was overwhelming!  On Friday, May 5, Kress paid a visit to PQ to receive a card containing $220 to help with horse expenses at the rescue.

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Lisa Finer and Britt Togonon, PQ paraprofessionals and ONE CUB co-founders, recycled 4,400 bottles and cans over three months to raise the money.

“Thanks again!” said Kress. “We are so appreciative and proud to be a recipient of this program. I am so impressed by your students. Great job!”

In addition to recycling, a bulletin board was created in PQ’s front hallway that highlighted a different horse each month in hopes of getting one of them adopted.  Greeting all those who enter the building were photos of each “horse of the month” along with what is known of the horse’s history.

Taking care of horses is a big responsibility, and the students in Rebecca Donofrio’s kindergarten class watched, “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Pets,” and learned that taking care of and being kind to any pet (large or small) is an important responsibility both day and night. The young learners took turns sharing how they take care of their pets at home. Kindness toward our pets and animals is a very important thing to learn.

We encourage the community to continue supporting this non-profit organization in any way possible. The Farm offers after-school enrichment programs and has a Facebook page and website ( detailing all the ways North Salem can help our four-legged neighbors. They will also be at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show with information about their organization. Together, we can find these beautiful animals a forever home.

ONE CUB would like to thank PQ’s students, families, and co-workers for bringing in bottles to help the cause. Keep those bottles coming, and we’ll keep recycling to raise funds to spread kindness around our community!

Article courtesy Britt Togonon and Lisa Finer.