Lexie Wilder, 11, of Las Vegas, Nev., a fifth-grader at Lummis Elementary School, has collected more than 1,000 used towels and bathmats from her community to make dogs, cats and other residents at a local animal shelter more comfortable. Lexie loves animals and asks her mother frequently to take her to The Animal Foundation's shelter just to look at the animals there. One day, as she was walking through the kennels, she noticed that many of them looked scared and upset, and had nothing to lay on except a hard concrete floor. "It became clear to me that I needed to find a solution for the animals to be comfortable," said Lexie.
She knew that her family had some extra towels and an old bathmat in her house, and began to wonder where she could get more. Las Vegas' famed hotel strip came to mind, so Lexie wrote letters to the housekeeping supervisors of several hotels, and asked her city councilman for his help. Before long, she was getting phone calls and emails from hotels wanting to give her towels and bathmats. Then she conducted collection drives with her school classmates, fellow Girl Scouts and neighbors. Lexie has gathered so many towels and bathmats that she has given some to a hospice for its pet therapy program and to a ranch for abused horses. "By recycling old towels and bathmats, thousands of animals in Las Vegas are a lot more comfortable today," said Lexie.