Students walk for livestock | SierraSun.com

Students walk for livestock

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

A class of Truckee Elementary third-graders walked 95 miles to buy a goat.

Yes, it’s true.

Twenty students from Erin Robb’s third-grade class last month logged more than 475 laps ” nearly 95 miles ” at the elementary school’s annual Walk-A-Thon, and raised approximately $400 in the process.

The funds usually go to class activities such as ski days, theater tickets and other cultural events, but this year, Robb’s students opted for something a bit different.

“We’re buying a goat. It doesn’t just help one family, it can help a whole village because the goat has babies and you can [sell] the babies to someone else,” said third-grader Hailey Pope. “It’s like throwing a rock in the water ” the circles get bigger and bigger.”

The children don’t know exactly where their goat will go, but through an American program called Heifer International, their live contribution will be sent to a needy family in an impoverished community.

“It makes me feel good because we’re helping someone,” said 8-year-old Meridian Donovan.

The idea to gift a goat came to Robb when she received the Heifer International catalog in the mail and read the story of Beatrice Birra, a young Ugandan girl who’s life was changed by the money her family earned when they sold the kids of their donated goat for $200 ” more than Beatrice’s family could make in a year.

“She was able to go to school because her family was selling the (goat’s) milk and cheese to buy her uniform and books,” said 8-year-old Maria Ruiz.

Purchasing the goat wasn’t a quick decision for Robb’s class. The children spent many hours discussing domestic and international poverty, what it means to truly be poor, and how important it is for some gifts to be sustainable.

“I felt lucky because I have food and shelter,” said third-grader Valeria Colmenarez. “I don’t live in a big house, I just live in an apartment, but I have what I need.”

The goat will cost the class $120. Remaining proceeds from the students’ efforts at the Walk-A-Thon will enable the children to have a ski day and see a theatrical performance.