Helping others around the holidays doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank.
It can be as simple as cleaning out your linen closet or picking up some extra pet food.
Joelle Litz of Liverpool is conducting a donation drive for the Humane Association of CNY and the CNY SPCA from now until Dec. 22. Both shelters are always in need of supplies (see the sidebar for their wish lists), and Litz said every little bit counts.
CNY SPCA wishlist
Clay cat litter
Dog and cat beds
Friskies wet cat food
Baby food: meat flavors (chicken or meat)
Pill pockets for dogs
Dog and cat treats
Dry dog, puppy, cat and kitten food (Pedigree, Purina, Science Diet)
Dawn dish soap
Gently used blankets and towels
Small litter pans
Collars and leashes
Cat condos and scratching posts
Stainless steel dishes
Rubber gloves (size large)
Brooms, dust pans and buckets
Rabbit food and chewable toys
Cat and dog toys
Heavy Duty Fantastic Cleaner
Large durable dog toys
Three-tab filing folders
Binders in white, red or blue
Clear page protectors
Humane Association of CNY wishlist
Non-clumping cat litter
Canned cat and dog food
Catnip treats for cats
Toys for cats and dogs
Large trash bags
“When I first saw the wish lists of the Humane Association and the CNYSPCA, I thought, ‘I only have a few of these things, I can’t just give a few towels and a blanket!’” she said. “Then I thought, why not? When they say no donation is too small, they mean it. So I decided to donate my time and driving skills to gather whatever small donations my friends and family could muster and deliver them myself. No one should feel like their small donation is somehow not enough, each little bit adds to what they need. If I can get 10 friend to donate two towels each, that’s quite the stack of towels! Now multiply that by every household in Onondaga County, just giving two old towels to animals in need. This is why every little bit helps. I figured more people would be willing to give their small donation if they knew it would be added to the others into one big donation.”
Litz noted that it’s especially important to help shelters during the winter months.
“Around here we have winter six months out of 12, and animals, especially dogs, get wet, muddy and matted, not to mention cold,” she said. “Imagine a dozen rambunctious 12-year-old kids running around in your yard, then running around in your house, and think about how many towels you would go through to clean them up.”
And it’s not just towels those animals need, but food, toys, beds, treats and other amenities to make their lives in the shelters easier and more pleasant.
“Anyone who has had a beloved pet knows the real meaning of unconditional love. These precious animals don’t have anyone to give that love to,” said Litz, a self-proclaimed “crazy cat lady” who has several pets at home. “Shelters are over-crowded and scary to pets who often have never shared living space with other animals and don’t understand why they are there. The amazing people who work there do the best they can to keep the animals feeling loved and wanted. It is up to us animal lovers to help them do their job.”
Litz said she understood that many people can’t afford to give a lot of money or time during the holidays, but she did hope that people could find a way to help the Humane Association and the SPCA.
“I know everyone is strapped for cash this time of year, [especially with] all the charities asking for donations,” she said. “I would be thrilled if everyone simply looked in their linen closet and found whatever towels and blankets they feel they can live without and donate them to these animal shelters.”
Litz pointed out that even small donations can reap tremendous rewards for both the giver and the recipient.
“That little tingle you get when you hold the door for a stranger and they say thank you, or when you drop your change in the bell ringer’s bucket? It’s magnified 100 times when you really give back what you can,” she said. “Shelters are often under-funded, and they rely heavily on the community to help. We have seen locally how close they can be to closing, and have also seen the generosity of our community when they came together to save that shelter. We can’t let it get to that point again.”
Donations are being accepted until Dec. 22. Litz is working on getting businesses on board to act as drop-off points. So far, Gotta Dance! Performing Arts Studio, located at 8075 Oswego Road in Clay, has signed on; they’re giving away a free bootcamp class to everyone who donates at their studio. You can also drop off goods at Tymeless Tattoo and Piercing, at 36 Oswego St., Baldwinsville, or Gifts with Sweet Expressions in Great Northern Mall. Litz is hoping other businesses will also join the effort. In the meantime, individuals can feel free to collect the goods on their own and take them to the shelters.
To learn more about how to donate, including updates on drop-off locations, visit facebook.com/events/675742542458156/. Monetary donations can be made directly through the shelters’ websites, thehumaneassociationofcny.org and cnyspca.org.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.