Readers generous in support of cat rescuers

Posted Jan. 25, 2011, at 8:25 p.m.

Thank you, readers. Thank you. You have made Norma Milton and the volunteers and supporters of Halfway Home Pet Rescue in Caribou so very, very happy.

Through your simple kindness of enclosing $1 in an envelope and mailing it to HHPR, the cat rescue organization now has slightly more than $2,600 in its building fund.

For readers unfamiliar with the story of HHPR and its attempt to become the state winner of $1,000 in the Animal Rescue Site’s $100,000 Holiday Shelter Challenge and help HHPR establish a building fund, here’s a quick refresher.

The Aroostook County nonprofit that rescues and places cats in adoptive homes was leading the ARS challenge for Maine right up to the final days but, in the end, was eclipsed by Maine Greyhound Placement Service of Augusta.

While Norma and everyone associated with HHPR was happy that the money would be helping animals in Maine, they were disappointed not to have achieved their goal.

The flip side of that coin, however, was the recognition HHPR received from those who went to the ARS challenge site and voted for HHPR, giving it a lot more publicity than it had ever had before.

That gave Norma an idea: HHPR would issue its own challenge, asking readers and supporters to help raise the missed $1,000 by putting $1 in an envelope and mailing it to HHPR.

The response to its $1 for $1,000 Challenge was far more than expected.

“Our building account only had $920 from previous donations when we started this $1 campaign, and then the envelopes with $1 started pouring in,” Norma told me.

“Is this a miracle or what? I am just so amazed.”

Norma just can’t get over the fact so many of you took the time to sit down, grab an envelope, put a dollar bill in it and mail it off to HHPR.

Because she knows she can’t thank you all individually, she asked me to do it for her, and I am more than happy to help.

While some envelopes contained more than $1, the majority of donations were single bills.

Some came from other means, such as Paradis Shop ’n’ Save, which collected $81 in donations from its customers to benefit HHPR.

The envelopes also contained notes and cards indicating the donations were in memory or honor of a special cat or kitten.

Then there was the donation that gave Norma goose bumps.

“One note came from a special little lady who told me that she only has Social Security to live on and is finding life difficult.

“But, she added, I can afford $1, and I want to thank you for allowing me to be part of the ‘giving’ society again.”

Norma also receives Social Security and can relate to that woman.

“All nonprofits are struggling, the same way we are,” Norma said, citing her belief that we all need to help others whenever and however we can.

“This lady: I just feel her intensity.

“There are times I have to put those appeals away and say I can’t do it this month, but maybe I can in a month or two.”

The $1 for $1,000 campaign was successful in more ways than one.

It helped establish a good foundation for the HHPR building fund; it helped others become part of the “giving society” once again; and it helped cats find new homes.

That was a bonus, Norma said of the unexpected increase in adoptions during this campaign.

For the first time in a long time, HHPR has just four cats waiting for families; quite a change from 30 in previous days.

And the building fund, Norma told me, will never be touched for any other purpose.

“What a blessing,” Norma said of your support.

“Someday we will have a building for our rescue. It might take 10 years but, if we don’t start now, it will never happen.”

For more information about HHPR, visit www.countypetrescue.org.

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