Mitzvot from the Heart: Kate Barbarash

Kate Barbarash

Kate Barbarash

Kate Barbarash | United Hebrew Congregation

As hard as it was studying Hebrew for her bat mitzvah and as nerve racking as it was standing on the bimah in front of more than 100 people, Kate said it was all worth it. That’s because it brought her to the beginning of her mitzvah project at Country Acres Pet Rescue in Manchester.

Kate is the daughter of Karen and Craig Barbarash of Valley Park. She loves animals and feels strongly about saving and taking care of them. Every week for the past year she has been volunteering at Country Acres Rescue, whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, socialize and place homeless, abused and/or neglected dogs and cats in the St. Louis area while focusing community attention on their plight.

Kate’s favorite part about being at the rescue center is cuddling with the newborn kittens. “Their little cries are sweet to hear and they are oh so soft,” said her mother. The hardest part for Kate is when she has to say goodbye and wait another week before her next shift. 

Every week Kate begs her parents to bring one of the cats home from the rescue center. But, unfortunately, her father and brother are allergic to cats and her family already has two dogs at home. So Kate must take advantage of her time with the cats while she volunteers. 

Throughout the year, Kate has heard so many sad stories about the animals that are brought to the rescue center. She said, “Thanks to the amazing rehabilitation work of Country Acres and that the animals are so resilient, they are constantly being adopted.”

In addition to her volunteer work, Kate also donated items given by her guests to help Country Acres. She collected hundreds of collars, cleaning item, treats and toys for both dogs and cats. 

After Kate’s bat mitzvah, one of her guests and their family visited the rescue center, ultimately adopting Stella, a beautiful calico cat. Kate, a student at Parkway South Middle School, said she feels like the opportunity to be with the animals at Country Acres has been a real blessing in her life.

Mitzvot from the Heart is compiled by editorial and Development Associate elise Krug. To have your child’s mitzvah project featured, email elise at ekrug@thejewishlight.com.