|By Lori Szepelak
Kim George founded Kane's Krusade because "love knows no color, age or breed." She is seen with Kane and Tess at Dave's Soda & Pet Food City in Agawam where a Kane's Kibble Drive is taking place in June. George's goal is to collect 1,000 pounds of dog food this month.
Reminder Publications photo by Lori Szepelak
Kim George of Springfield saw a "huge need" to help families keep their beloved dogs in their homes and out of shelters by providing canine assistance, resources and education.
"When people struggle, their pets often struggle," she noted during an interview with Reminder Publications outside of Dave's Soda & Pet Food City in Agawam.
In June, George is conducting a Kane's Kibble Drive at Dave's that will help feed many of the dogs currently benefiting from the resources of the nonprofit Kane's Krusade which George founded.
As George peered into the blue basket tub in the entrance of Dave's, she realized with half the month gone, the little food that was collected to date won't go far.
"It's troubling because we will be out of food and won't be able to help some of the needy families," she said.
George noted that since the inception of Kane's Krusade, she and a host of volunteers have met so many families "who are all so grateful."
George and her loyal band of volunteers work with the Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Animal Medical Center, who provide referrals of families in need. George matches volunteers with a family and a needs assessment is conducted.
"We improve the quality of life for dogs," she said. "We're a bunch of dog lovers who love our community and want to give back."
Kane's Krusade C.A.R.E. (canine assistance, resources and education) Kits include a leash, collar, name tag, food, toys, treats, vaccinations, spay-neuter, micro-chipping and a doghouse if necessary.
George also noted that families who are helped are asked to "pay it forward" by being a part of events and helping other families.
"Everyone can be part of the solution," she said. "Kindness and compassion never go out of style."
A major fundraiser for Kane's Krusade is the second annual Kane's Cookout, planned Aug. 18 from noon to 5 p.m. at King Philips Stockade, 73 Columbus Ave., Springfield. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on the day of the event rain or shine.
For a chance to win New England Patriots tickets, attendees are asked to bring an item for the C.A.R.E. Kits.
"Help us fill a box truck for the dogs of families in need," she said.
Eligible items range from new, unopened bags of dry dog food (no Beneful or Ol' Roy), canned dog food, new unopened boxes of dog treats, wrapped knuckle bones, hooves and other long lasting dog chews.
"No rawhide or treats from China," she added.
Large or extra large Extreme Kongs and other durable dog toys, large dog collars and leashes are also welcome.
The cookout will include standard food fare, as well as vegan options. Additionally, a kids' pavilion with face painting, contests and other activities is planned, as well as a scavenger hunt with prizes to win from local vendors. The presentation of the first annual Abundant Advocacy Award will also be announced.
"Please do not bring your pets to the event," she said.
For more information, visit www.kaneskrusade.org or http://kanescookout2.eventbrite.com. George can also be reached at 363-2101 or via e-mail to email@example.com.
All money raised will benefit the organization.
Kane's Krusade recently received its 501c3 designation so all donations are tax-deductible.
For persons interested in volunteering, a variety of options are available, ranging from becoming a C.A.R.E. Krew member and distributing C.A.R.E. Kits to needy families and their dogs, to people who enjoy building dog houses. Contractors who are willing to donate their scrap materials for the dog house building efforts are especially needed.
"We also need volunteers who could help with special events, fundraisers, and collecting items for the C.A.R.E. Kits," she said.
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