When you think of volunteering for the SPCA, what activities come to mind? Maybe cuddling baby kittens or taking dogs on nice, long walks.
While all volunteering is amazing and extremely valuable, one form is often forgotten.
The Nova Scotia SPCA is proudly no-kill and will tackle difficult medical and cruelty cases. Antibiotics, surgeries, and emergency veterinary treatment are expensive… especially for a charity with no government funding for our shelters.
Fundraising is crucial to ensure hurt and homeless pets are saved. Sadly, there are always more. But thankfully, there are fabulous fundraisers, like Brenda Bell, to help.
“I wanted to make a difference in the lives of animals,” Brenda shared. “It saddened me to hear about the thousands of stray and feral cats living on the streets and the hundreds of animals that are euthanized every year. I wanted to do what I could to reduce those numbers and help those animals in need. I wanted to be that voice for them.”
“I started helping with the yard sales,” remembered Brenda. “I was asked to take over the SPCA Christmas fundraiser and then in 2011, I started the Sponsor-A-Kennel program. I agreed to do these two fundraisers in spite of the fact that I knew nothing about fundraising.”
But Brenda is very humble. Over the last 12 years, these two fundraisers have raised $370,000.
For the holiday fundraiser, Brenda is quick to credit this achievement to her team leaders, Judi Bell and Linda Stewart, and the rest of the volunteers who work the tables. “If it wasn’t for Judi and Linda, this fundraiser would not be the success that it is today,” Brenda beamed. “Together we prepare and collect all the inventory to sell at the tables and manage all the volunteers that come out to work at the tables.”
“I feel touched when people show up every December to volunteer at our Christmas tables or donate something for us to sell at the tables,” Brenda continued. “As challenging as it is sometimes to bring everything together, it always works out. We always find someone to fill that shift. Maybe it’s divine intervention. Whatever it is, I am truly grateful for it.”
The hustle and bustle of the holiday fundraiser also brings memorable moments.
“A favourite memory that I have of volunteering was at the Christmas fundraiser,” Brenda recalled. “We had a therapy dog named Roc. He was a St. Bernard. One day this beautiful, young girl (maybe 13) and in a wheelchair and hooked up to IV came over to see Roc. She held Roc’s large head in her tiny hands and they both stared into each other’s eyes. It was truly magical to see how happy Roc made her feel when it was obvious she was very sick.”
It’s moments like this that keep Brenda pushing and so giving of her time. On top of the holiday fundraiser, Brenda also manages another fundraiser.
“The Sponsor-A-Kennel fundraiser is where I call all current sponsors or solicit new sponsors and ask them to renew or sponsor a new kennel,” she shared. “For their $365 donation, they get a plate on one of our kennels and we send them a certificate of appreciation in the mail. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel whenever I sell that kennel sponsorship.”
“Raising this much-needed money for the Nova Scotia SPCA makes me feel like I am at least doing something to help animals in need,” Brenda explained. “It may not be much when you look at the big picture but if all of us do a little – host a bake sale, host a party and ask everyone for a donation to the Nova Scotia SPCA, donate, volunteer, foster – it can all make a difference.”
Brenda is 100% right. Everyone can use their talent and time to find fun ways to give back. It’s lifesaving for pets… and it can be life-changing for you.
“I love volunteering for the Nova Scotia SPCA,” Brenda exclaimed. “In fact, I love it more than my paid job. It is so satisfying to know that the money I help raise actually saves lives. I love that the Nova Scotia SPCA is a no-kill shelter. I love that I get to meet amazing people who love animals as much as I do. Well, almost!” 😉