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From left are Kathy Mercurio, Shannon Graham and Holly Saari, with miniature horses Celeste and Candy.

PEPPERELL — Kathy Mercurio and Holly Saari of the Pepperell Horse Owners Association were busy collecting money for the Salvation Army — but they were not alone. Their miniature horses, Celeste and Candy, were alongside them, offering kisses to all the donors at the kettle.

The beautiful horses, ages 14 and 17, also visit nursing homes, hospice and schools as well as marching in parades.

The Salvation Army Red Kettle is staffed by volunteers each Christmas season who are committed to raising money to help others in need. Each donation helps change lives for the better by fighting hunger, give warmth, clothing the needy and housing services.

Money collected in Pepperell will stay in the area to help local residents all year.