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Pajama fundraiser raises funds for Manchester Animal Shelter

Union Leader Correspondent

January 15. 2014 11:30PM

LONDONDERRY — Animals and sleeping in are two of fifth-grader Taryn Kocak's favorite things.

So when the Matthew Thornton Elementary School student heard about the recent flooding at the Manchester Animal Shelter, it didn't take her long to dream up the perfect fundraiser.

On Wednesday, students and staff members were given the option of wearing their pajamas to school in exchange for donations to the local shelter.

"Our family really, really likes pets," Taryn said, noting that her mother, Rebeccah, is an avid supporter of the animal shelter and learned about the charity's plight via Facebook.

On Jan. 3, an overhead water pipe burst inside the dog kennel area, causing portions of the ceiling to collapse and the kennels to flood. No animals were injured during the incident, but the kennel area remained closed for 10 days as volunteers rushed to complete repairs.

Other volunteers stepped in to help provide temporary lodging for the dogs.

The shelter reopened earlier this week, according to its website.

"I thought it was really sad," said Taryn, noting that she, her mother, father Dan, and 8-year-old brother, Grant, had adopted two new feline family members, Luna and Sassy, at the Manchester shelter recently.

Admitting that during the winter months she'd "just as soon stay in bed," Taryn decided a school-wide "pajama day" to benefit the shelter would be an appealing event for her classmates.

Her teachers happily jumped on board. In fact, several staff members were spotted in their finest blanket sleepers and slipper socks Wednesday afternoon.

Principal Alfred Thompson even got in on the fun, donning a terry-cloth bathrobe over his usual shirt and tie and encouraging staffers to post snapshots of their pets on a bulletin board, where students could guess which pet belongs to which teacher.

"We have so many kids here with great hearts," said Thompson.

By mid-afternoon, Taryn had collected more than $500 to help out the shelter, with plans to continue collecting donations through the remainder of the school week.

"Best of all, I got to sleep 15 minutes later this morning," she said with a grin.

Taryn and her mom plan to personally deliver their earnings to the shelter sometime this weekend.

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