Girl in red shirt, with long blond hair, sits at a table with other children, smiling at the camera and making colorful signs for seniors.
Photo by Mona Ueda

On Saturday, March 9, kids ages 6 to 16 sat around tables and on the floor in the Marina Community Center creating cards, decorating boxes, and stuffing socks and felt to make homemade toys for pets of homebound seniors.

Plated and Served with Love to Seniors and Their Pets was the second annual incarnation of Seal Beach Animal Care Center’s effort to inspire others in the community, children in particular, to express the same unselfishness and compassion that their shelter receives from the public.

Seal Beach Animal Care Services, as its website states, “is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter committed to finding permanent, loving homes for all the animals that come into our care.” The shelter is run solely by volunteers and keeps itself in kibble and veterinary-bill payments through fundraising, legacies, grants and public donations.

“We’re blessed as a shelter because we have such generous donors—people who donate to our cause—not just money, but walking dogs, dropping off towels and food, so we decided to pass it forward,” shelter volunteer Karen Millet said. “We really believe in giving back.”

Last year, Plated and Served chose Long Beach Rescue Mission as its beneficiary. Clients and their pets received gifts of blankets, pet food and other goodies.

This year, homebound seniors who depend on Meals on Wheels for both food and socialization received, along with their own food, tray favors like handmade pet-themed napkin rings, food for their pets, and pet toys made by enthusiastic kids from the Leo Lions Club and the younger children whose families brought them.

Millet told of one family who brought their only child because they wanted to teach him “the importance of working together and for the good of others.”

“They really showed their talents,” Millet said.

Who’ll get the goodies next year?

“We have no idea,” Millet said. “We take them as they come!”

Seal Beach Animal Care Center is located at 1700 Adolfo Lopez Drive, Seal Beach. Like all shelters and rescues, they need volunteers whose focus is the well-being and positive outcome for otherwise unwanted pets. Anyone who wants to walk dogs, empty litter boxes, is computer savvy, wants to drive animals to veterinary appointments, or doesn’t mind doing a load of laundry can call during shelter hours at 562-430-4993 and fill out a volunteer application. The shelter also accepts both in-kind and monetary donations.

Table covered with black paper and crayons and other art material, worked on by teenagers standing up and sitting down. Two adults stand in the far background.
The long tables could barely hold the art materials that the Leo Lions Club members and other children put together. Photo by Mona Ueda.
table full of colorful braided yarn toys, sock toys, and catnip toys.
Kids braided material to make cat toys. They also knotted cute socks with empty water bottles for that irresistible crunchy sound for dog toys; they also marinated cotton balls in catnip and sewed them into fish-shaped felt for the kitties. Photo by Mona Ueda
Girl in green T-shirt and long straight brown hair holds sign decorated with butterflies and hearts advising us to eat healthy.
Photo by Mona Ueda
Young girl in white sweatshirt and a line of other children roll green napkins and put them into napkin rings.
Napkin rings hand-drawn cards and ornaments for the tables surely brightened the seniors’ day. Photo by Mona Ueda
Two rows of small white bags decorated by children, with suns and bright flowers.
Photo by Mona Ueda
A large white box and a large yellow box decorated with photos and cutouts of dogs and cats, decorated further with flowers and suns.
The young artisans also designed bags and boxes to hold the items for volunteers to schlep in to the private houses and senior facilities. Photo by Mona Ueda
White bucket holding cat food and dog biscuits
Cats and dogs living with senior humans did pretty well, too. Photo by Mona Ueda
Seal Beach Animal Care Center expresses its gratitude to the future generation of advocates. Photo by Mona Ueda