By Jonathan Weaver
Only a week after its second event, organizers for a benefit to assist a local animal shelter are stunned at the results achieved two weeks ago.
During the 2nd annual “Riders for the Storm” to benefit the Orphans of the Storm no-kill animal shelter in Rayburn Township, Coordinator Ruth Curry – who started volunteering at the shelter in Rayburn Township walking dogs – said more than 300 people packed the Pattonville VFW in Ford City and gave heartfelt contributions.
“It was a huge event – we made over $6,300,” Curry said. “And actually donations are still coming in.
Fun was had by all.”
The event October 11 was in memory of former Armstrong Beer Distributor Owner “Freddie” Watson – who died a year ago. Watson adopted an Orphans of the Storm dog, “Jess.”
“He did a lot for Orphans, so we thought it was fitting that we did something in memory of him,” Curry said.
Money raised will be divided between three different funds at the animal shelter: the general fund, the Hope Fund (to pay for surgeries to injured or sick animals) and the Building Fund (to pay for a new shelter).
Even though she could not attend that weekend, Assistant Manager BethAnn Galbraith was very gracious for the donation and hugged committee members.
She said donations are needed for all aspects of the animal shelter.
“I think both things are needed,” Galbraith said. “We need a new building badly, but we also have to have that money for sick and injured animals. In the last two weeks, we have a cat with a broken leg, a dog in-need of knee replacement in November, a kitten that somebody burned, another with a broken leg that needs its leg amputated…there are always some that are above-and-beyond the normal realm of medical needs.”
Starting at 1PM at the VFW in Ford City, 10 bands plays an hour each and participants enjoyed raffles, a children’s carnival (with games such as pumpkin tic-tac-toe and bottle ring toss) and on-scene food vendors until 11PM.
Curry thanked the VFW for allowing the event at its location.
“We basically had no expenses this year because of them,” Curry said.
Sweatshirt and T-shirts from ‘Riders for the Storm’ are still available for purchase. This holiday season, committee members are also coordinating with the Mechling-Shakely Veterans Center in Cowansville, where all shirts will be donated to homeless veterans with proceeds going to the animals.
Brenda Frerotte of Ford City met Curry while walking dogs at least six years ago. She has fostered two dogs and three cats – and helps stray animals that come to her doorstep.
Curry also annually organizes the Bark for Life fundraiser event in Rural Valley- which is already scheduled for May 2 at Shannock Valley Community Park.
Last year’s event raised nearly $4,000 according to online totals.
Another opportunity to raise even more money for the animal shelter is just beginning.
From today through November 19, daily votes on the national non-profit Pets Add Life Facebook page could help the no-kill animal shelter win cash prizes – including the grand prize of $25,000. The organization with the most votes in the “Shelter Showdown” wins.
The competition is open to any of the more than 14,000 animal shelters and organizations that utilize the online database PetFinder. Each user can vote once per 24 hours through Noon November 19.
Last year’s grand prize winner – which received more than 35,000 votes – was Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary in North Carolina. More than 1,900 shelters participated nationwide
“We are so thrilled to bring the Shelter Showdown contest back, and ultimately help more pets find loving homes,” said Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association in a news release. “It was rewarding to give away $25,000 to deserving shelters last year, and we couldn’t be happier to provide even more this year. I strongly encourage communities to rally, vote and help spread the word!”
Galbraith is also excited for the grant opportunity.
A grant received early this year currently helps pet owners have their animals spayed or neutered.