Christmas is still a few weeks away but the holidays are starting early at the shelter! Only one more week until we celebrate by welcoming the public into our shelter and collect donations from our generous supporters.
Saturday, December 12th, will be our fourth annual Holiday Toy Drive! I can’t believe this is year number four. For those of you reading who haven’t been to this event in the past, let me tell you a little about it. (For those who have been, read anyway.)
The idea for this event began the first Christmas I was at the shelter, after I had went out and bought some Christmas stockings for our long-timers. I used those sparkly glue pens to write their names on them. It was just a way to decorate the cage so that maybe more people would notice them. It seemed to be such a big hit. And honestly, after seeing how cute and festive the cages looked with them on there, I ended up feeling bad for the rest of the animals, so I went out and bought stockings for their cages too. So, nearly 80 dog and 20 cat stockings later (and over $100) everyone had their own stockings waiting to be filled. (What a sucker.)
Eventually the idea progressed and turned into an event where people come and stuff the stockings. The first year we did pretty well, especially since we weren’t sure what type of response or turn out we’d get. Since then we’ve collected more and more items each year. We’re at the point where we now collect enough toys to last the whole year. We also have been collecting more and more food and cleaning supplies too each year.
I think the reason this event has been so successful, other than everyone being in the holiday spirit, is because the public gets to come in and see our animals. They get to see where their donations are going – or who they’re going to, rather. It’s a little more rewarding when you can match your donation to a face and personality, instead of just a name.
Through the years the attendance has skyrocketed and grown to include families, churches, school groups, local organizations, previous adopters, local businesses and supporters from all over New York. We are blessed to have so many amazing supporters and outstanding local businesses who want to help by donating raffle baskets or prizes to us, from gift cards to baskets for dogs and cats, to baskets full of holiday goodies, to toys and games for kids, and everything in between. This year we already have over 30 prizes to raffle off and we’re still collecting! This year we also have some additional sponsors, aside from Live.Love.Bark who has sponsored this event for the last two years (going on three now). The money they pay to sponsor the event helps us raise monetary donations which will be used for various things that we don’t get donated, such as heartworm preventative, flea and tick medications, wellness products, etc. With 70+ dogs and cats to take care of at a time, we go through supplies so quickly and these donations help us afford all their needs throughout the year.
So, what makes this year bigger and better than last year? Well, for starters, all of you! We’re sure we’ll have even more people come down and donate, especially since in the last year our following has increase by nearly 2000 people! Another big thing is the amount of raffles we have this year. We had so many donated that we’ve decided to use the second viewing room for them. In that room we’ll have the raffles displayed, you can buy your tickets there, and we’ll also have merchandise for sale in there including shirts, hoodies, calendars and bandanas for your pets.
Where the raffles were last year – in the main lobby – we’ll be collecting any donations that aren’t going in the stockings. Not sure what else we need? Here’s a list of items we’re collecting:
Toys – We LOVE Kong toys.
Bones – We LOVE Nylabones
Food – dry or canned dog and cat food
Laundry detergent – HE please
Please DO NOT DONATE Beneful food, raw hide bones/treats, or tennis balls.
Beneful makes our dogs sick.
We only use raw hides for testing purposes so we don’t need excess.
We still have TONS of tennis balls from last year that we haven’t gone through yet.
Other things you should know:
WE WILL NOT BE OPEN BEFORE 11AM on this day. We need time for the employees to clean cages, feed the animals, give out any medicines they need, etc. They’ll be too busy to do that once the event starts, so in order to give them enough time, we won’t be letting anyone in until 11am. Plus it gives the volutneers time to set up all the raffles and merchandise.
We currently have 101 animals in the building . This number will definitely change before the 12th, as it fluctuates daily, but as of right now we have 64 dogs and 37 cats. Not all of those cats are up front for you to see (mostly because of space, but also because some are not up for adoption yet, some are recovering from illness, etc.) We will have extra cat stockings hanging around the cat room and in the hallway for the cats that are in the back.
Raffle winners will be drawn around 2:00 pm. Be sure to come buy tickets before then if you want to win! You don’t have to be there to win. We’ll contact you if you win and aren’t present.
December 10th is Heather’s birthday. December 13th is Joanne’s birthday. Heather works in the main office and Joanne is the shelter Supervisor. If you see them, wish them a happy birthday!
The people walking you through and helping you are all volunteers. They work their butts off to them. Say thank you. ;)
We’re so excited to see all of you. If you have any questions, call me (Venessa) at (631) 224-5485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d like to again thank our sponsors:
Live.Love.Bark Dog Rescue
Diane L Roach
Bill Holland of Cavalier Homes
Good Mojo Printing
The Tantone Family
Youth Enrichment Services (YES)