State matches young man’s grant toward helping animals

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BURRILLVILLE – A Mapleville boy who has dedicated weeks of his summer for the past eight years raising money to help animals has been recognized by a Rhode Island-based organization that works with assistance pets.

And he learned this week that his cause received double the money for his efforts this year thanks to a matching state grant.

Ben St. Pierre received the acknowledgement from Windwalker Professional Pet Assisted Therapy on Saturday, Dec. 1 for his dedication to helping animals.

St. Pierre, a 7th-grader at Burrillville Middle School, began raising money for pet-related charities at the age of four through a lemonade stand. He raised $75 that year for the Woonsocket Animal Shelter and decided to make the event annual.

His lemonade stand has grown every year since and in 2018, he raised $3,345 for the Burrillville Animal Shelter selling lemonade and baked goods from his home on Maureen Circle.

Ben St. Pierre receives recognition from Windwalker.

Windwalkers acknowledged the young philanthropist at an event with guest speakers who discussed professional leashes and the documentary Search Dog The Movie. St. Pierre and his parents joined Animal Control Officer Ron Woods and Town Clerk Louise Phaneuf, along with Windwalker members. 

“Everyone was so nice and welcoming,” said his mother, Kristine St Pierre.

St. Pierre, who turns 13 this Saturday, also learned of an early birthday present at the event: Woods told him his 2018 donation had been matched with state funding.

Former state Rep. Cale Keable applied for the House legislative matching grant, securing and additional $3,080 for the shelter.

“We actually just received the check two weeks ago,” said Deputy Control Officer Kerry Courtemanche. 

The funding from St. Pierre’s work has been dedicated to the shelter’s veterinary fund.

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