CHESTERTON | Little chefs worked hard Sunday morning in Chesterton to make some lucky dogs happy.

Twenty children from first through fourth grades at First United Methodist Church's Sunday school baked dog biscuits for the Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry in Portage, which provides free pet food to needy families.

The junior chefs are in the church's Kids on a Mission program, which teaches lifelong service to God, family, community and the world, said Lori St. Pierre, director of children's ministries.

"We emphasize that being on a mission and serving should be a lifestyle, not just one project or trip," St. Pierre said.

The youngsters mixed three batches of biscuits made from oatmeal, milk, whole wheat flour, chicken broth and cheddar cheese, then cut them into fun animals shapes and baked them.

Aidan Potts, 10, of Chesterton, said he understands how important pets are to people, as he has a chocolate Labrador retriever, Brummer, and two hermit crabs at home.

"I think that's really generous, and they're really helping the community," Aidan said about the pet pantry.

Kelly Lahaie, 8, of Valparaiso, said she enjoys community service projects.

"I like making stuff for other people," Kelly said. "It makes me feel good inside."

Kelly's sister Kara, 6, gave the project and the pet pantry a thumbs-up.

"I think it's super good," Kara said.

Michelle Duca, the Kibble Kitchen Pet Food Pantry's executive director, was thrilled with the gift of 200 biscuits.

"We're very excited that more and more people are finding interest in the pantry," Duca said. "More publicity brings more help."

Duca said because the pantry allows families to care for their pets even when money is tight, it keeps pets in the home and out of animal shelters. She said the Sunday school children's project actually benefits other youngsters in the community.

"The kids are the ones that are affected the most when the animals have to leave the home," Duca said.

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