Back when a global pandemic wasn’t shutting down most human interaction, Kelowna dog rescue non-profit Paws It Forward held a wine event that raised approximately $20,000 each year for the organization.
Now there are no such events, and the money for organizations like them is drying up. Now that the pandemic is more than 12 months old, Paws has been unable to hold its most important fundraising event two years in a row.
“It’s been difficult,” Paws It Forward volunteer Bobby-Jo Brown said. “The bills haven’t stopped for the dogs. There’s still a lot of vet bills and such that need to be paid, and they can’t seem to do any fundraising because there are no get-togethers.
“… They’ve had to really go virtual in terms of looking for ways to make money—and not just asking people to give money.”
In an effort to make up at least some of the organization’s financial shortfall caused by COVID-19, Brown is spearheading an online fundraiser called Petals for Paws that will continue until Wednesday. Anyone wishing to buy flowers and help get abandoned pups into caring homes is invited to visit the website.
“We do have an amazing community in Kelowna,” Brown said, “and everybody seems to love their dogs.”
Brown said those dog lovers have helped out by heeding the calls for towels and food, and also by donating money without attending the glitzy event that often goes with it.
Paws It Forward’s plight is no doubt being felt by non-profits across the Okanagan that have had to come up with new ways to make ends meet. Paws It Forward is run by a six-member team of volunteers, led by director Brogan Whatley, and all rescued pups go directly to foster homes since the organization does not have its own facility.
“The reason that we do that is every single penny that we raise needs to go to the dogs,” Whatley said, “and that’s the most important thing to us.”
Whatley said some breeders have increased their prices due to more people wanting dogs during the pandemic, but Paws It Forward’s adoption fees have remained flat.
Those who purchase flowers through the Petals for Paws fundraiser will be able to pick them up on May 7 or 8—just in time for Mother’s Day.
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