Benton and Haughton students team up to help area animal rescues

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Benton High School student, Jillian Maxwell, has hosted a donation drive at her school called Mistlepaws throughout her high school career. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Benton High and Haughton High School students are teaming up in a friendly competition to help two local animal rescues this holiday season.

For the last three years, 17-year-old Benton High School student, Jillian Maxwell, has hosted a donation drive at her school called Mistlepaws. During a two week time period, students donate higher priced items needed to help benefit rescue animals at Ninna’s Road to Rescue and The Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana.

Final day for donation collection is December 18.

“During the holiday season, everyone is saving up money for presents. Normal donors to the shelters aren’t donating because they are saving their money. So, that’s when I can step in and help,” Maxwell said. “We love and support both rescues. And, they are both very supportive of Mistlepaws as well.”

This year, Maxwell is hoping to expand Mistlepaws’ reach to include donations from businesses.

“We are really hoping for donations from local businesses this year, we need them to step in this year and help,” Maxwell said. “My first year we probably collected one SUV full of supplies. Last year, we collected 2.5. This year, with the help of businesses, I hope for even more.”

In another effort to help expand Mistlepaws’ reach within the community, Maxwell is teaming up with Haughton High School Senior Nick Notts for a little friendly competition.

Maxwell says that over the summer, Notts reached out to her asking her how he could get involved with Mistlepaws.

“I stumbled upon Jillian’s flyer for Mistlepaws over the summer on social media. I reached out to her to see how I could help and asked if I could get involved. She instantly said, ‘Yes,’” said Notts.

Each grade level is competing against each other, in addition to the schools competing against one another. There will be a school winner, a grade winner for each school and then a school winner for overall.

As of the time of writing, the Benton High seniors are winning.

The winning school will win a sponsored trophy to put in their school display case from Red River Bank.

Haughton High School Senior Nick Notts reached out to help the Mistlepaws fundraiser and has his school participating. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

“Doing this has taught me a lot. It’s taught me how to plan something, knowing statistics like your crowd, who you’re working with, and deadlines. I grew a lot doing this every year,” Maxwell said.

Ninna Lopez, founder of Ninna’s Road to Rescue, said that with the help of both Benton and Haughton High School students, she expects this year’s donations to double the previous years.

“In this day and age of ‘me me me, my my my,’ they are impressive young people setting an excellent example of unselfishly giving back. We are honored that they again chose us as one of the receiving charitable organizations,” she said. 

Ninna’s Road to Rescue was founded in March, 2012. Located in Benton, Ninna’s Road to Rescue is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Their mission is to rescue and re-home small-breed dogs and a handful of cats.  Most of their animals come from kill-shelters in and around Northwest Louisiana.  Many come from abuse and neglect situations. Adoptions are scheduled by appointment only with approved adopters.

The Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana was established in August of 1997 by volunteers to address the concerns and needs of animals in our area. They are a local no-kill shelter located in Shreveport, Louisiana. They are also a 501-C3 organization and run solely on donations and volunteers.

If you are interested in making a donation, you can go to any Red River Bank.

Notts and Maxwell both say they hope someone at their schools will takeover Mistlepaws mission for upcoming years. And, eventually take this concept to other schools in the area.

“To the person who will hopefully take this over next year, do it with your whole heart. Don’t just do it because you think it needs to be done. Do it because you genuinely want to do it and you have a drive to do it,” said Maxwell. 

Notts said, “I would love to get someone from Haughton to take over and continue this after I graduate. I’ve been keeping my eye out. I would love to see this grow and expand to all the schools and businesses in the Shreveport/Bossier area, not just between Benton and Haughton.”

Listed below are items needed:

  • LIQUID LAUNDRY DETERGENT
  • PAPER TOWELS
  • ALL PURPOSE LIQUID CLEANER
  • BLEACH
  • GREENIES PILL POCKET TREATS
  • SLIGHTLY USED OR NEW BLANKETS/TOWELS (ANY SIZE)
  • GARBAGE BAGS
  • SOFT DOG TREATS
  • HAND SOAP
  • HAND SANITIZER
  • DISH SCRUB BRUSHES
  • DISINFECTANT WIPES
  • DOG TOYS