Many exchange the traditional Valentine’s Day fare of flowers, candy and cards.

Darlene Ake’s PreK class at Wewahitchka Elementary favors dog and cat food and treats.

Ake and her class made their annual trek to the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society last Friday for Valentine’s Day, toting bags and boxes of food and treats for the “cutie puppies and cats.”

Ake’s tradition is founded in philanthropy and a different sort of lesson for her young charges: to look beyond and consider others, even the four-legged breeds.

And instead of exchanging cards that will likely end up in a waste basket before the day is out, the students provide more lasting gifts.

Beyond being able to get up close and personal with some of the animals, the Humane Society prepared some treat bags and crafts for the children to enjoy.

“We had a great time,” Ake said.

After the trip to the Humane Society, as always, Ake’s class traveled to Frank Pate Park for a pizza lunch provided by the school’s PTO and a little play time.