It truly is better to give than to receive.
He may only be 8, but Riley Whealdon already lives by this creed.
After watching a commercial about homeless dogs and cats, the Payson Elementary second-grader decided he didn’t want presents for his eighth birthday on Nov. 4.
“We saw all those pets on TV that didn’t have a home and needed food and we wanted to feed them,” he said. “It’s better (than presents for me) if the pets have food at the humane society.”
So, instead of presents, Riley asked friends and family for cat and dog food. On Wednesday, Nov. 6, he donated about $500 worth of dog and cat food and treats to the Humane Society of Central Arizona (HSCAZ).
DJ Palmer is the co-executive director of the HSCAZ.
“We’re honestly amazed watching some of these younger kids growing up and the things that they’re doing nowadays,” Palmer said. “To go as far as to help a nonprofit is truly amazing. We’re extremely proud and thankful to Riley.”
He said Riley’s gift helps the HSCAZ fill a big need.
“We take in almost about 1,200 pets a year, domesticated animals from the streets or surrenders, so any food we can get definitely helps out,” he said. “And we buy dog and cat food for about 60 low-income families each month. So, any food we get goes to that program or to the dogs and cats here at the shelter.”
Anyone who wishes to join Riley in helping can call the HSCAZ at 928-474-5590, or stop by and drop off food at 605 W. Wilson Court in Payson between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.