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    GAYLE SHOMER

    - GAYLE SHOMER
    Roxanne Blake had experience volunteering with animal rescue groups, and she knew that many organizations needed more money to help spay, neuter and care for animals. That's why she founded "Pawbrokers," a charity that donates towards animal welfare.
  • LNM_PAWBROKERS

    GAYLE SHOMER

    - GAYLE SHOMER
    Roxanne Blake founded Pawbrokers to help local animal-welfare organizations. Here, her dogs look over publicity materials.
  • LNM_PAWBROKERS

    GAYLE SHOMER

    - GAYLE SHOMER
    Roxanne Blake is the founder of Pawbrokers, which has donated over $45,000 to support abused and rescued animals.
  • LNM_PAWBROKERS

    GAYLE SHOMER

    - GAYLE SHOMER
    Roxanne Blake, Founder of Pawbrokers, at home with her dogs and cats.
  • LNM_PAWBROKERS

    GAYLE SHOMER

    - GAYLE SHOMER
    Roxanne Blake has spent the last two years helping animals in the region with "Pawbrokers," her jewelry-selling charity.
  • LNM_PAWBROKERS

    GAYLE SHOMER

    - GAYLE SHOMER
    Roxanne Blake, founder of Pawbrokers, at home with her dogs and cats. Donated jewelry is sold at parties and the proceeds are used to help rescue animals.
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    GAYLE SHOMER

    - GAYLE SHOMER
    Roxanne Blake started hosting jewelry parties to benefit animals in 2009.

Charity sells bling to help animals

By KELLI ROBINSON | Photography by GAYLE SHOMER

Posted: Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012

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Roxanne Blake of Cornelius was invited to a home jewelry party in 2009 where the host donated five percent of sales to a local animal shelter. Everyone was excited but Blake. She did the math and realized that while the donation was a nice idea, the contribution amounted to less than $30. Two weeks later Blake cleaned out her jewelry box, invited friends to do the same, hosted her own party and donated 100 percent of the sales to a local shelter. Over $2,000 was raised, and Pawbrokers, which to date has donated over $45,000 to support abused and rescued animals, was born.

On the concept: Pawbrokers is all about the money, because Blake knows it’s what shelters need most. Having volunteered for rescue groups, she’s seen firsthand that funding – especially for spay and neuter programs – is crucial in conquering the rampant number of unwanted and neglected animals. Some of the local animal welfare organizations that Pawbrokers has donated money to include Paws 4 Adoption in Mooresville, Lake Norman Lucky Cats in Cornelius, and the Humane Society of Lincoln County. While Pawbrokers initially hosted in-house parties, all events are now held at public venues such as restaurants and spas. The event’s featured shelter provides the invite list, but anyone can attend.

On the name: “It’s so clever it’s not even funny,” says Blake about the organization’s unique moniker. “I have to give credit to my friend Cynthia (Smith) for coming up with it.” Blake called Smith to brainstorm names and kept coming back to the idea of pawning jewelry for money. Omit the “n” and insert a paw print and the company name and logo were born. Blake hopes that one day the trademarked name makes its way into the dictionary.

On the future: Blake currently works two part-time jobs, but eventually wants Pawbrokers to become her full-time career so she can help as many animals as possible. In an effort to spread the word about her organization, she’s urging supporters to contact animal rights advocate and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in the hopes she will help bring Pawbrokers’ mission to the masses. “I want to travel the country and teach people this concept,” she says. “Think of the good that could come from that.”

For more information about Pawbrokers, visit www.pawbrokers.org.

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