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5 Ways Your Family Can Thank Your Local Shelter This Season

If you're like me, you're likely grateful for animal shelters. Here are creative ways to give back.

Angie Bailey  |  Nov 20th 2014


This time of year we tend to focus on gratitude for the good things that are happening in our lives and the world. I admit it — I usually amp up my thankfulness during the holiday season, but I really try to spend every morning of the year thinking about the abundance of good happening around me. Based on the media, you’d think there was more bad than good happening in the world, but it’s exactly the opposite. There’s way more good, but it doesn’t get the media hype. Sad, huh?

If you’re an animal lover like my family and I are, you’re likely grateful for the animal shelters that are doing such important work to save our animals and keep them healthy. There are lots of ways to help these shelters year-round, including volunteering to clean cages, manning a booth at a fundraiser or writing a check.

Right about now, you might be thinking about things your family can do together to celebrate gratitude and give back to places whose mission is in alignment with your passion. Here are five ways your family can come together to thank your local shelter.

1. Collect donations at holiday gatherings

Chances are, your family is either hosting or attending a holiday gathering of some sort. Why not set up a donation basket in an entryway of the house, and encourage guests to bring a donation for the local shelter? You have a captive audience, and everyone is in the giving spirit — seems like the perfect opportunity! Here’s a list of donations shelters typically like to receive. Also set out a monetary-donation jar for those who’d rather drop some cash.

2. Bring treats to the volunteers and animals

Every once in a while I drop by my favorite shelter with yummy treats for both the cats and volunteers. You know, the volunteers are the heart of any animal shelter and sometimes don’t get the appreciation they deserve. How fun would it be to bake cookies or a pie, buy some cat treats and stop by a shelter with a surprise package? My experience has always been positive, and the volunteers are sometimes speechless.

3. Build winter shelters

Many animal shelters have TNR programs and welcome donations of handmade winter-shelters, especially in areas where the season can be brutal. These shelters are pretty simple and inexpensive to make, and it’s a great family project.

4. Make cat toys and beds

Cat toys and beds can be super inexpensive to create, and shelters always appreciate those kinds of donations. Nip-knots (pictured above) are made by tying opposite corners of fleece together on top of a spoonful of catnip.

5. Thank-you cards

Something as simple as a thank-you card can make volunteers and shelter employees feel special and appreciated. Kids usually love art projects, and each family member can create a unique card with a heartfelt message or original artwork inside. These could even be delivered with the treats!

How have you or your family shown appreciation for your local shelter? Tell us about it in the comments!

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About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in a comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.