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January 09. 2013 10:24PM

Salem Boys and Girls Club lend helping paw to local shelter

Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem Torch Club donated a hefty helping of pet supplies to the Salem Animal Rescue League earlier this week. Pictured are: Back row, from left: Jenna Sylvain, Matt Sylvain, Patricia Mack, Andrew Claydon; middle, from left: Carmela Souza, Maddie Craig, Niko Karantonis, Jessica Tracy, Cecilia Souza; and at front: Sadie the dog. (COURTESY)

SALEM - A group of animal-loving preteens from the Boys Girls Club of Greater Salem are spreading the word on the plight of local shelter animals.

As part of the Torch Club, a community service and leadership program chartered by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the small group of boys and girls, ranging in age from 11-13, created a picture book, "Animal Frenzy," where the children shared photos of their own precious pets, along with animal facts.

One of this year's national projects for the Torch Clubs is Protecting Animals With Service (PAWS), and the children were eager to help out a cause dear to them.

Over the past several months, club members have been selling copies of their book, with proceeds used to buy supplies for the Salem Animal Rescue League.

On Monday, seven members of the Torch Club, known affectionately as "The Crew," presented the local shelter with a collection of pet food, toys, blankets and litter.

"When we learned that the Torch Club National Project was going to be something that had to do with protecting animals, we immediately thought of getting involved with the Salem Animal Rescue League," said Cecilia Souza, Torch Club president.

"The Torch Club members worked really hard on this project," said Rachel Hill, Torch Club advisor. "It is awesome to witness how their commitment to this project has helped them come together as a team and helped out an organization in the community."

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