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Birthday party turned into fundraiser

10-year-old’s big day helped Humane Society

By Jennifer Ford
Correspondent

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  • Want to help?

    Humane Society of Charlotte, 2700 Toomey Ave., Charlotte, NC 28203, 704-377-0534, www.humanesocietyofcharlotte.org. Contact them to find out how you can help improve the lives of companion pets.



Fourth grader Elissa LiBrizzi has loved animals since she was a toddler.

An avid horse-back rider, Elissa dreams of being a veterinarian. So when she planned her recent 10th birthday, animals had to be a central theme to the party.

“My mom thought a scavenger hunt would be a fun idea. When we searched online for scavenger hunt, Humane Society Scavenger Hunt/Wish List was the first one that came up,” said Elissa.

Elissa’s mom, Jennifer, contacted the Humane Society of Charlotte to confirm their wish list.

“Their biggest need is paper towels. They use over 30,000 paper towels each year. Most of their things come from donations so it is very important that they receive donations like this,” said Jennifer.

After confirming the list with the Humane Society, Elissa and her mom planned the party. They would invite seven of Elissa’s close friends to help gather donated items, make toys and treats for the animals at the Humane Society, and in lieu of presents, they would bring cash to buy additional needed items for the animals.

Elissa and her mom designed a flier with the wish list, which they distributed to homes in their Blakeney Heath neighborhood. The flier suggested that the items could be picked up at the door by the girls or could be left at the end of their driveway if they were not home. The girls visited 130 houses during the party to pick up donated items.

“We are very proud of Elissa and her friends. The biggest thing for me is to see all of the girls work together as a team. They were all so dedicated. When a group of girls get together they want to have fun. I wasn’t sure if they would see it through. They stuck with it for over two hours,” said Jennifer.

More than $700 worth of items was donated, including pet toys, food, paper towels, blankets, leashes, laundry basket, and a pet cage. With the money donated by neighbors and the girls who attended the party, the LiBrizzi family purchased additional needed items, including formula and bottles for kittens and puppies, at PetSmart, which gave a 10percent discount on their purchases.

The girls made several crafts for the dogs and cats to be given as toys and treats.

“We used toilet paper rolls and filled them with peanut butter and cheerios for the dogs. We took baby socks and filled them with cat nip,” said Elissa.

“What an amazing act of philanthropy by this wonderful 10-year-old girl. Elissa’s donations from her birthday will go a very long way for our animals here at the Humane Society of Charlotte and we appreciate this gift so much,” said Donna B. Ragan, Marketing & Public Relations Manager for the Humane Society of Charlotte.

“Thanks to our neighbors in Blakeney Heath and to these determined young ladies, the Humane Society received every item on their Scavenger Hunt list. And, perhaps more importantly, these young ladies stand a little taller, a little prouder, knowing that they made a difference in their community,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer Ford is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jennifer? Email her at robandjenford@yahoo.com.
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