CROWN POINT | First-graders at St. Mary Catholic Community School proved that they have big hearts for small paws when they collected items for the Lake County Animal Shelter.

The students held the school's seventh annual Pet Drive in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. More than 100 items were collected, including leashes, collars, treats, toys, and cat and dog food.

“We help the animals live,” first-grader Kevin Quasney said.

With the help of their teachers, students loaded the items into vehicles for transportation to the local shelter.

The students were excited to participate in this community service project. “I like a lot of animals,” Madison Dubiel said.