Doherty, 7, donates pet food, $2,100 to SAFE Animal Shelter

Local girl continues to make an impact for Clay County pets

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KINGSLEY LAKE – Olivia Doherty spent her Friday afternoon bringing in pounds of dog and cat food, animal supplies and $2,100 to the SAFE Animal Shelter.

Doherty is only 7, but she’s donating her time to her local community is nothing new for her. While her summer has been a little different as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, her dedication to Kingsley Lake and Clay County are steadfast. That dedication came to fruition in the form of a massive donation to her favorite animal shelter on July 10.

“I really like the animals and I know they needed the help so I did what I could,” Doherty said.

Doherty began collecting supplies in June and she quickly realized that she was going to surpass last year’s total. People in the Kingsley Lake community would drop off bags of dog and cat food, and boxes of paper towels, treats and other necessities on her family’s dock. Doherty used her lemonade stand to raise money during the Kingsley Lake patriotic celebration where she sold lemonade, water and boiled peanuts.

She used some of the money to purchase additional supplies for the shelter and still had enough left over to donate $2,100. Not all of that money came from the stand though. Island Dentistry and Little Gym, both in Fleming Island, donated money to Doherty’s cause.

Shelter volunteers and employees were ecstatic when Doherty and her family arrived with a van full of supplies and an envelope full of cash and a check. It took Doherty’s family and two people from the shelter to empty the van. Doherty told one of the people helping that she really loves what they do for animals.

She said that one day she wants to get a job helping animals. She’d especially love to volunteer her time to walk the dogs. Walking her dog Hank works for right now though, she joked. Moments like these warm Lacey Romanelli’s heart, who is Doherty’s mom.

“I’m so very proud of her,” Romanelli said. “She’s grown to be such a good role model for this community that she loves so much. She does all of this on her own volition.”

Doherty was joined by her grandparents, Michael and Beverly Romanelli as well. Michael, who’s lived on Kingsley Lake for 32 years with Beverly, said Doherty fits in just right with the Kingsley Lake community.

“Our community is all about helping others and she’s a great example of that,” Michael said.

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