A group of 4th graders at Joseph C. Caruso School in Keansburg are getting ready to open up a store in their classroom with the proceeds going to the Monmouth County SPCA and Sheriff's K-9 unit.

Inside Barbara Leary's classroom is a group of students and a teacher with a passion for helping dogs in need and showing gratitude for what law enforcement officers do to protect everyone on a daily basis.

Leary says they've donated to the Monmouth County SPCA and Sheriff Shaun Golden's K-9 unit, through an annual partnership.

"We partner up with both the Sheriff's Department and the shelter to not only raise money for bulletproof vests and to help the animals get taken care of in the shelter, but also to spread awareness of why we should be doing that and giving back to the community," Leary said.

'Paws-R-Us' opens up March 27 at 5:00 pm and closes at 7:00 pm that day but throughout the school day afterwards.

"We sell things that are donated from businesses that are new and we accept gently used items," Leary said.

It's a store that sells pet items, toys for kids, house-ware, clothes and other home goods for you and the family.

Leary says her students have worked really hard ahead of the grand opening.

"I have to say they hit the ground running, they're very involved with it," Leary said. "They gave up recess sometimes, we've done things on weekends or after school...it's just an amazing thing for kids to realize that they too can help the world in a positive way."

Prior to the 'Paws-R-Us' store opening up these students also ran a pet drive in September of 2017 where all the supplies were donated to the MCSPCA, in October they participated in the shelter's therapy dog testing program and in November opened up a 'barkery' (bakery) named 'Helping Police and Paws Barkery'.

Other funding raised towards the end of last year was pulled together and used some of it to buy holiday gifts for the shelter animals and police dogs.

Leary says she makes the operating of this store as part of her lesson plans that also help the students learn the value of running a business and invaluable life skills.

"They have a job application they need to fill out and apply for 'Paws-R-Us'," Leary said. "There's certain jobs they have and once were done with that writing unit, I then schedule them for interviews and they have to meet with me to get 'hired' for their job."

The class holds fundraising events throughout the school year, Leary says, and in June they meet with Sheriff Shaun Golden and donate all the money they've raised.

If you're looking to donate any pet items, toys for kids, clothes or other household type items contact Barbara Leary at bleary@keansburg.k12.nj.us for more information.

You can also join them this Thursday January 18 at Texas Roadhouse for a fundraiser:

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