2016-03-23 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue (LIGRR) wants your old shoes. Nope, the Goldens are not going to retrieve the shoes and use them as chew toys. Instead the collection, which runs until May15, is a “repurpose” idea.

With the help of a service called

Funds2Orgs, your old shoes will be sent to developing countries where impoverished people are taught how to start, maintain and grow their own business – a micro-enterprise. Meanwhile, LIGRR raises money for their breed rescue efforts aiding both local Goldens and desperate discards imported from Turkey earning $10 for each bag of 25 pairs of shoes donated to this cause. It’s win/win fundraising project for LIGRR and all the people helped along the way.

As a retired teacher, I love this fundraising concept because it provides help and awareness on six different levels: 1) LIGRR earns funds to help more needy Golden Retrievers both domestic and foreign. 2 and 3) Poor people all over the globe are aided in two ways: as budding entrepreneurs and as recipients of our superfluous shoes. They receive gently used shoes they will treasure because their fellow citizens learn business skills to set up thrift stores at local markets where they sell our donated shoes. 4) LI school children and scout groups, helping LIGRR with the shoe collection, learn compassion toward both people and animals. 5) We, as consumers cleaning out our overflowing shoe closet, reflect upon how fortunate we are to live in the US, realizing most of the world does not have the luxurious lifestyle we do. 6) Expensive materials like leather are recycled rather than winding up at the landfill.


LI Golden Retreiver Rescue Needs Your Used Shoes! LI Golden Retreiver Rescue Needs Your Used Shoes! Now let’s look at the components of this unique charitable effort:

About LIGRR: “Never Miss a Golden Opportunity” is the unofficial motto of Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue (www.ligrr.org), a proactive group whose mission is to improve the quality of life of Golden Retrievers that are neglected, abused or abandoned. Intervention is also offered to owners who can no longer care for their Goldens, while veterinary care and loving adoptive homes are provided for homeless Goldens, no matter whether the dog is a pup or a senior. A small band of dedicated LIGRR volunteers is the loving force behind this huge, ambitious effort.

LIGRR takes Goldens from LI, NYC and surrounding area shelters. The group’s president Melanie Mayo says, “LIGRR volunteers have the time and expertise to match rescued Goldens to the right homes. Once embraced by our organization, our rescued Goldens stay under our safety net for the rest of their lives.”

Recently the plight of at least 500 discarded, purebred Goldens among many thousands of Turkish street dogs has caught worldwide attention. The Goldens were abandoned when a fad to purchase the purebred pups as status symbols faded. LIGRR, along with two NJ breed rescues, took in 18 Turkish dogs last September, and then more in November. I helped out in September, and the joyous arrival of the wagging dogs at JFK is something I will never forget.

So far LIGRR has placed eight Turkish Goldens. The group would like to help more Turkish dogs this spring but doing so is quite costly. The shoe drive will help pay expenses. It’s lovely to think that our shoes are going overseas to help people, while these foreign dogs are coming to America for the opportunity to live as cherished pets. Melanie is adamant no local Golden will be overlooked because LIGRR is helping Turkish Goldens. (See “Pets” Beacon 9/17/15 for more about the Turkish Goldens.)

About Fund2Orgs: In the US alone, approximately 600 million pairs of shoes are thrown away each year. The materials used to manufacture shoes are created from chemical compounds, the kind that will create health hazards if left to disintegrate openly or in landfills. Unlike placing your shoes into a clothes donation bin, the shoes you no longer want or wear handled by Funds2Orgs are creating sustainable economic means in countries like Haiti and parts of Africa where there is little hope of economic stability.

Wayne Elsey, a shoe businessman, started these shoe drives in 2004 when he was watching the news after a tsunami struck Sumatra. A single shoe washing ashore inspired him. He founded Soles4Souls which sent 250,000 shoes to the Sumatran survivors, and later 19 million pairs of shoes to victims of natural disaster and poverty in 127 nations. His second brainchild – Funds2Org – added the micro-enterprises to the charity equation to establish sources of sustained income in depressed areas.

How the shoe collection works: LIGRR is collecting shoes until May 15. All usable shoes are acceptable – shoes, sneakers, sandals or boots. Funds2Orgs provides the bags. LIGRR is packing 25 pairs per bag. Laces of pairs are tied together; otherwise the pairs are rubberbanded. They must collect 25 bags before Funds2Org pays them $10 per bag. They are already on their way. LIGRR has several schools participating in their shoe drive. This is a great community service project.

How you can help: LIGRR would like your old shoes. Every pair is precious. LIGRR would love shoes from individuals or groups. If you are a teacher, principal, scout leader, member of a church congregation, a civic group supporter or employee at a community-minded company, consider setting up a shoe collection area for LIGRR. Babylon Shelter will have a LIGRR shoe bag. Call LIGRR at 516-578-3803 or email ligrr@yahoo.com for bags or drop-off spots. Thank you…especially for your Hush Puppies.

Available at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Kinder” 6-94 is an extremely friendly black female kitten found curled up in a ball in the hallway of an Amityville school. She still has her baby teeth while “Harry” 6-85 is a handsome but hefty tabby fellow.

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