School children re-purpose stuffed animals to make toys for shelter pets

When Zach Hartman sees something in the garbage, he tries to think of a way to re-purpose it. That's how he decided to take used stuffed animals and turn them in to toys for dogs and cats living in rescues and shelters.

And now he has help with his passion project.

The 12-year-old is teaching National Elementary Honor Society students at Bryant Elementary how to sew together stuffed animals. After a little TLC, they're going to give the toys to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. 

Zack says the process is simple. 

"They're taking the stuffed animals there. They're putting a squeaker inside of the little slit and then they're sewing them back up."

 To help reach his goal, he started a non-profit called Zach's Planet. He wants to come up with projects like the stuffed animals for shelter pets that make a positive impact in the world. 

"This is our planet, and we're just living on it, so we have to help it." 

Honor Society faculty advisor Donna Tippin says school is more than just about the ABCs.  

"They have independent projects to help the community, and it is such a self rewarding thing to know what you have done. For others, it's all about giving," she said.

A sentiment that Zach agrees with.

"I think it's awesome because volunteering is a great way to show that you can help out in your community. And that's what they're doing today. They're volunteering for my project," he said.

Through hard work and caring for others, Zach is making the world a better place to live. Zach is thankful for his peers who helped him donate more than 400 stuffed animals in five years to the Humane Society of Tampa. 

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