Unionville teen reaps what she sews for abused animals

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Pocopson pillow business has Patton student making a difference in the community

By Jessica Chermack, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com

Pocopson's Sara Hunt created "Pillows for Pets," sewing pillows and other items to raise money to help animals in shelters. Photos by Jessica Chermack.

POCOPSON — Sara Hunt’s goal was to merge two of her passions – helping abused animals and sewing creative pillows.

Hunt, an eighth-grade student at Charles F. Patton Middle School, has done more than just dream about it, she’s making a real difference for abused animals.

It all started three years ago, when her and her family walked into the Philadelphia Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals.  Hunt said she was saddened by the low-caged crates that the animals were confined to.  That day, she left the SPCA with a three-year-old Cocker Spaniel that they named Maggie and a goal to make a difference for the lives of the animals there.

Last summer, Hunt started a business called Pillows for Pets, inspired in part by her two uncles.  She had learned to make pillows in her Family Consumer Science class, and begged her parents for a sewing machine to continue making pillows at home.  With her uncles’ advice, Hunt realized she could start a business, and give a portion of the proceeds to her local SPCA.

While the initial motivation for the business was to raise money to help animals, Hunt realized that the products she makes can also improve the lives of animals — if only by giving them a comfy place to sleep.

Sara Hunt with her dog Maggie, whose adoption sparked Hunt's idea to do something to help animals in shelters.

“Pillows For Pets strives not only to create pillows for animals, but pillows that will also benefit the animals,” Hunt said. “With the money I make, I hope to give more and more animals the happy-ever-after ending they deserve.”

Hunt opened her business just before starting her eighth grade year at Charles F. Patton Middle School and made something of a splash with her booth at Pocopson Founders Day last September.

So far, she has made over 100 pillows and dog beds — two of which were donated to the SPCA.  She also has recently started sewing boxer shorts and pajama pants for people, also available through her website. She has donated around $185 to the SPCA in the five months of opening her business.  Hunt’s goal, she said, is to donate $100 to $200 every other month, as well as donating her handmade dog and cat beds…quite an accomplishment for a 14 year old girl.  In the future, she said she hopes to sew dog sweaters and expand her business.

Through her website, customers are able to order pillows for their home or pets.  She has more than 80 fabrics to choose from, but also sews custom pillows if requested.  The pillows are modestly priced at $15, and dog beds range up to $30.  The website is pillows4pets.weebly.com.  Customers can find information on ordering any of her products, as well as make personal donations that go directly to the SPCA.

Surrounded by some of the pillows she makes and sells, Sara Hunt has raised $185 for local animal shelters.

While she is passionate about the pillows and helping animals, in many ways she’s a normal teen aged girl. She says she enjoys running track in the spring and playing volleyball.  If Sara is not in her basement sewing pillows, she is playing the guitar, which she just recently started to learn.

In all, the SPCA drove Hunt’s goal to make a difference in the lives of shelter animals.  Adopting Maggie the dog was a bold jump for the Hunt family because they went from pet less to owning a puppy mill dog, but they were full of hope.  She says, “…adopting Maggie changed my life, it gave me a dog…a dog that may be quiet, but is there to listen to me when I need to talk.”  Hunt’s goal to make a difference in the lives of shelter animals has become her reality, and it all began with Maggie.

Staff writer Jessica Chermack can be reached at jess@unionvilletimes.com

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