SPRINGFIELD – Eloise McKinnon, daughter of Jamie and Jake McKinnon of Springfield, turned 2 on April 18 and although she garnered plenty of gifts from friends and family attending her birthday party, the big news was the donation of blankets, balls, bags of food, kitty litter, toys, cleaning supplies, etc. and etc. destined for PAWS Animal Shelter in Urbana and the Humane Society Serving Clark County.
“Her love for animals is indescribable,” her mother said. “She talks more to the dogs than she does to people.”
Eloise’s parents wanted to take that love for animals a step further, teaching their daughter the gift of giving and helping shelters in need.
“We saw that the Clark County animal shelter needed a few things, and I have a friend who knows PAWS well,” Mrs. McKinnon said, adding that her father, Dave Rapp, captain of the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, is familiar with PAWS.
So invitations for Eloise’s party were issued with a request to honor the birthday girl’s love for animals by donating items to the shelters. A raffle during the party raised funds for the shelters.
“The amount of donations was amazing,” Mrs. McKinnon said. “The truck was packed,” she said of her husband’s pickup.
Besides two dogs, the McKinnons have a goldfish and a cat, who, after being rescued and still skittish, insisted on spending her first months in the basement.
That was until Eloise was born. Her mom says the cat climbed the stairs the day Eloise came home and they’ve been best friends ever since.
“Eloise is at a very impressionable age where everything we do is a life lesson for her future,” Mrs. McKinnon said. “We want her to cling to things that are good and positive and what better way to teach her that than to give back to a cause that brings her so much joy.”
Mrs. McKinnon said she and her husband want to continue teaching their daughter to be charitable. She said they both grew up in families in which giving was important. “We want to continue the gift of giving,” she said.
Kathy Fox can be reached at 937-652-1331, ext. 1773.