This is the first blog post for Animal Friends of Westmoreland | Animal Friends Sanctuary! I am so excited to be able to use this platform to reach out to volunteers, supporters and our community on the all of the happenings at our organization!
It’s hard to believe that it’s June! Five months of 2017 are already behind us! We have had a very busy, but very wonderful start to the year! Super exciting things are happening! If you haven’t heard, we recently closed on a 62 acre farm! We will be expanding our mission and community impact by creating a sanctuary for horses, cows, pigs, chicken, goats, turkeys AND building a new shelter with more space to help even more dogs, cats and rabbits than ever before! Our adoption center will also host a community vet clinic, grooming center and small store to get all of the essentials one would need when adopting a new family member!
It’s been less than a month since we sat down at the attorney’s office and signed the papers. It was a lot of work to get to that point but as I signed my name on behalf of our organization, I knew that our real work was only beginning. Our little organization, which was once a one-woman operation, has officially kicked off its training wheels. We have developed into an organization with deep purpose and a far reaching mission supported by a community of people who all share our vision to impact on thousands of lives.
As far as the farm sanctuary’s progress, I have already met with architects and contractors. We are now in the planning phase and are starting to breathe life into this vision. We are looking to secure gifts and grants to begin renovation on the barn as well as construction on the additional buildings and new shelter.
Not only did we close on the farm, we secured a small building in Youngwood (right by our current shelter). This building will be the future home for our community vet clinic! We are in the process of adding a staff veterinarian to facilitate our spay/neuter surgeries, dental procedures and vaccines for our sheltered dogs, cats and rabbits. The building needs some updating and surgery equipment will need purchased; but once complete this will serve the homeless animals at our shelter and the community by offering low cost vaccines and spay/neuter surgeries to the public. We will start slow as this is a new venture for us but I anticipate it growing based on need and participation.
On the shelter front, it’s crazy to think that we are only 5 months into the year and we’ve already had three of our major events! Bands for Bones, the Cash Bash & Dancing with the Celebrities.
Those 3 events contribute over half of our yearly fundraising budget. Events like these are the reason we can continue to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals. Our 2017 Dancing with the Celebrities event was such a huge success with over 750 people in attendance and more than 50 sponsors. It was an outpouring of love and support for our mission. I may have been the one that “directed” this event but it truly took an ARMY to pull off. Working and collaborating together made it a HUGE success for the animals.
In addition to those events, I’ve been writing foundations seeking grants and researching other avenues for support. With the additional expenses of the vet clinic and the farm sanctuary hitting at the same time, it’s more important than ever to remain consistently focused on our growth and to expand our organization’s reach.
In the spirit of such growth, we also grew our organization by implementing a new and expanded board of directors. Men & women with strong ties to our communities, who are aligned with our vision and are committed to use their talents & skills to help take our organization to new heights. It’s been an honor to work with them and we are just beginning. Collaboration is essential for us to help more animals, save more lives and leave a legacy for generations to come.
I would be remised to not add how super proud I am of our family of volunteers and our staff. Our volunteers contribute over 20,000 volunteer hours to our mission annually. We have the greatest team of kind hearted, generous individuals that remind me of how many good people there truly are in the world.
Our staff is more committed and dedicated than ever. Each of them work tirelessly to make sure the animals are cared for, adoptions are facilitated and we are fulfilling our mission to be a resource to the community.
Because of YOUR efforts and all of YOUR support, together we have saved over 3000 animals and touched the lives of thousands and thousands of people… and to think we are only getting started.
The expansion of Animal Friends Sanctuary is going impact thousands of lives – animals and children alike. It is going to spread compassion and kindness to the broken, the neglected, the forgotten. It is going to heal the souls of the abused and allow love to foster in hearts that have only known pain. I invite you to become a part of this mission – rescuing animals, saving lives, and teaching kindness & compassion for all.
Until they ALL have a voice,