Jackson Harvey pitches in to help out Critter Cabana after the Newberg petstore is destroyed in a December fire

by: BARBARA SHERMAN - HELPING OUT -- Jackson Harvey, who raised almost $400 to help rebuild the Newberg Critter Cabana, is surrounded by animals at home, which is just how he likes it. With him are Abby the cat, Shelby the golden retriever and Haley the six-week-old yellow Labrador retriever.Jackson Harvey and his family just love animals – the current count in their Sherwood home is three cats, two dogs, a chameleon, a leopard gecko and a hamster – and the family was devastated after hearing about the Dec. 13 fire at the Critter Cabana in Newberg.

“Jackson’s favorite place to go is Critter Cabana,” said his mom Mary. “Jackson is a fourth-grader at Hopkins Elementary and loves all things that involve animals.

“So naturally, he was devastated as were many others when the Newberg location burned (with) the loss of so many little critters. From puppies, kittens, fish, hamsters and birds to their beautiful Gracie, all were lost to the fire and smoke inhalation.”

The two-alarm fire killed most of the animals, including pythons and chinchillas, and a few days later, Jackson, 10, came home from school with a plan – he wanted to hold a fundraiser to help the owners rebuild. Although the Sherwood family usually visits the Wilsonville Critter Cabana instead of the Newberg location, Jackson still wanted to help.

“We have always had pets,” he said. “I think Frank, my leopard gecko, is my favorite – I raised him from a baby, and I’ve had him four years. I love going to Critter Cabana, although it’s usually to get crickets. When I grow up, I want to become a marine biologist and study animals. I love the water.

“When I saw the news about the fire, I was pretty sad. A day later, a girl at school – Isabella – talked about making posters to raise money for the pet store, so that gave me the idea. It was close to the winter break, and I came home and told my dad I wanted to help.”

Mary and Jackson’s dad Noah supported him in the venture, and the first step was a stop at the Dollar Store to pick up big sheets of green paper and animal stickers to make posters.

Jackson set up shop outside the Sherwood Albertson’s with a poster and a container with a pop-up lid to collect donations, and he stood in the freezing cold soliciting funds; Fat Milo’s also set up a donation can with one of the posters and collected $80 for the cause.

“We also put the word out that we were collecting cans and bottles, and went around to pick them up so we could return them for the deposits,” Jackson said.

“It was a lot of work but worth it,” said Mary, noting that Jackson collected a grand total of $388.45, which they turned over directly to the store so as not to lose a percentage by getting all the coins changed into bills.

Jackson explained, “When we went to the Wilsonville Critter Cabana, the lady cried because she was really happy we did it.”

Mary added, “She was very overwhelmed and appreciative.”

The woman who accepted the donation was one of the store’s owners, Amanda Johnson.

“He was so cute when he came in with the money,” she said. “In fact, the whole community has been amazing. For a kiddo to raise that amount of money is outstanding. It was so sweet of him, and he could see how affected we were. I started crying.

“It just warms my heart. For a little kid to raise almost $400, that’s like $1 million to adults. It was so unexpected and amazing, and we are so grateful. I wished we had a better way to thank him.”

And Jackson isn’t done yet.

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