Mitzvot from the Heart: Greta Walters


Compiled by Elise Krug

Greta Walters, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Greta Walters loves dogs. For her mitzvah project, she had a small fundraiser called “Change for C.H.A.M.P.” benefiting C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs, Inc. The nonprofit organization (which stands for Canine Helpers Allow More Possibilities) places skilled service dogs, free of charge, with people who have disabilities. C.H.A.M.P. also provides disability awareness education and therapy dog teams to the St. Louis area.


The project was kicked off with a disability awareness presentation at Parkway NE Middle School, where Greta attends. Dianne Peters, a C.H.A.M.P. representative, accompanied Elliot, a very cute therapy/service dog. Peters spoke to the students, demonstrated Elliot’s skills and had a meet-and-greet with the kids. At the same time Greta asked everyone to make a donation. A life-size dog bank was on display for two weeks.

“I was a little shy and worried about how people would react to it,” said Greta, daughter of Linda Zelson and James Walters of Creve Coeur. “But I figured everybody likes dogs, so having a dog like Elliot come at lunch would be a good kick-off for it. I don’t really know who gave, but I know that one of my teacher’s sons donated a lot of his money. I thought it was really sweet because he likes animals – and that he would donate all his money for it. I was thinking, ‘Wow, he would do that for C.H.A.M.P.?’ I appreciated what people did.

“The project wasn’t so successful at first, but in the last three days people finally saw the light. My project made a total of $96 from the kids at my school,” said Greta. Planet Dog, a manufacturer of dog products, donated a big box full of toys to C.H.A.M.P. and Greta remembers they were very happy about that. The Kiddush luncheon centerpieces (bowls with leather leashes, KONG toys, squeakers, etc.) were also donated. “Family and friends also contributed to C.H.A.M.P. I just wanted to help people and make it a better community,” Greta said. In the end Greta felt that everything turned out pretty well.

C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs, Inc. is a BBB accredited charity. They do not receive grants from state or federal government and are not supported by the United Way. For more information, call C.H.A.M.P. at (314) 653-9466 or visit