Anna Lubitz, a senior at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, has turned a passion for animals into something much more.
In an effort to help pets living in local shelters, Lubitz hosted a "pet drive" this month in which she invited classmates to donate unopened pet food, bowls, blankets and beds.
The program is called Saving Shelter Animals with Volunteer Efforts, or SSAVE.
"I have noticed a great turnout this year," said Lubitz, who has five birds, two dogs and a cat at home. "I have a real love for animals and wanted to do anything I can to help out the less-fortunate ones around."
Lubitz's efforts started last year and continued this year due to the positive reaction from the school community. Donations benefit Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Port Jefferson Station and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
In addition to her volunteer work with SSAVE, Lubitz is a member of the school's student government, Tri-M Music Honor Society, National Honor Society, Yearbook Club, and inSTAR, the school's student research program.
Lubitz plans to study to become a veterinarian when she enters college in the fall.