Check out the winning submission from Chris W.:
My most favorite charity is Friends of Anne Arundel County Animals Control, Inc., a nonprofit recently created by the volunteers at this Maryland animal shelter after the county’s political leaders refused to let the shelter accept financial donations. In what is likely to be the charity’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the Friends of AACAC has partnered with a Maryland chapter of the Hogs and Heroes Foundation to co-host a motorcycle show and animal adoption event on May 16, 2015 at the shelter in Millersville, Md., close to the state capital of Annapolis.
The shelter, part of the county police department, has a very limited budget yet must take in every homeless pet from the county that comes to its door. Concerned citizens frequently offer to give the shelter money, but it is not allowed to accept financial donations. A bill that would have set up a fund to take donations for the shelter was defeated by the County Council in June after council members said it was not the county’s role to raise money. They challenged the shelter’s volunteers to set up a nonprofit – so we did.
We created Friends of AACAC, a 501(c)(3), because we know firsthand that the animals need help far beyond what is in the shelter's modest budget. In addition to the many hours of time our small group of volunteers donates each month, before the nonprofit was created most of us dug repeatedly into our own pockets to provide items that help make shelter life a little better for the animals and/or encourage adoptions. We did – and still do -- this willingly to help the animals and to support the hard-working staff of AACAC. But there was so much more to be done than our little group of volunteers could finance. Friends of AACAC allows us to solicit tax-deductible donations from the wider community to use to support the shelter.
Here are some of the things that the Friends of AACAC has done since it was created:
• Paid the vet bills for sick animals that otherwise probably would not have made it. The shelter has no vet on staff. • Purchased flea medication for dogs and cats at the shelter, and solicited the contribution of additional doses from local vets and a national company. Even though most of the stray animals who come into the shelter are covered with fleas and ticks, the shelter does not have funds for topical flea meds. • Purchased kitten milk and food for the shelter. The shelter’s animal food contract does not include food specifically for baby animals. • Arranged for a surgeon to donate free eye surgery for a kitten born with seriously deformed eyes. The kitten subsequently was adopted. • Partnered with a generous donor to cover the fees that rescue groups pay when they take an animal from the shelter, thereby encouraging more animals to be rescued. • Created “starter kitty kits,” for new volunteer fosters who care for the many, many underage kittens that are brought to the shelter, some only a few days old.
The volunteers who make up the Friends of AACAC hope to make the shelter a standout example of modern care for homeless pets. The motorcycle community’s strong support for the May 16 motorcycle show and adoption event undoubtedly will draw a large crowd of both riders and the general public to the shelter to enjoy the show, adopt our animals and help our ambition of becoming a model animal shelter come a little closer to reality. Thanks, everyone.