7-year-old from Kingston works to provide for rescue dogs

Girl raises money, collects supplies for local shelter

Bella Odom (right), 7, and her sister Payton, 4, of Kingston, are seen with their dog Nala at their home Friday. Bella is raising money for the DeKalb County Animal Shelter Barn which is where she adopted Nala.[]

Bella Odom, 7, said her rescue dog, Nala, sleeps next to her during most nights. Happy as she is with Nala, Bella loves to see the animals at The Barn on Baseline, the DeKalb County shelter where her family got Nala about five years ago.

One day, Bella’s mom, Misty Odom, found an envelope with a few dollars in it on a table. When her mom asked her what it was for, Bella said it was for the animal shelter to help animals like Nala. Her mom pointed out that only the family members in the house were going to see that envelope, unless they spread the word.

That revelation turned into filling an SUV with donated supplies for the shelter in April at Bella’s school, Kingston Elementary. You can keep the donations coming by dropping off materials at the Sycamore Jewel-Osco, 220 W. Peace Road, and Genoa Resource Bank, 310 Route 23, Genoa, until the end of this month.

“It feels awesome,” Bella said. “I’ve never known someone that’s done this before.”

Misty Odom said Bella met with her school’s principal, Stefanie Hill, to make the shelter a beneficiary for one of four community service projects for the school year. She said the entire school participated in donating paper towels, pet food, litter pans and other materials to help care for the animals in the shelter and help make the jobs of the employees a little easier.

“I thought it was really cool that [the school] offered support like that,” Misty Odom said.

Hill said it’s part of the school’s mission statement to help students contribute to their community. She said she thought Bella had a clever idea, and that it was neat to see elementary students taking the lead for this schoolwide project.

“It makes [staff] think, gosh, I guess we could give more,” Hill said with a laugh.

Misty Odom said a collection drive such as this coming from the older of her two daughters doesn’t surprise her.

“She’s got a good heart,” she said. “She cares about people.”

Odom said she loved how the project taught both of her daughters, not just Bella, how one small idea can turn into a large effort that helps people.

“I’m proud of Bella, and the people that put in the help just to see how big something can be,” she said.

Bella said she thinks it’s important to keep helping animals when they can’t necessarily help themselves.

“They have a life just like us,” Bella said.