This post is sponsored by Purina but The Tiniest Tiger only shares information that we feel is relevant to our readers’ interests. Purina is not responsible for the content of this article. All opinions are our own.
The Shelter Volunteer of the Year Contest
As part of the “Building Better Lives” program, Purina Cat Chow conducted the Volunteer of the Year contest to recognize and thank the volunteers who tirelessly care for cats as they wait for their forever homes. These selfless and kind volunteers work to make the cats’ temporary shelter homes gentler, less stressful places.
Purina Cat Chow asked its 50 shelter partners, one in every state, to nominate a volunteer who spends countless hours providing love and support to enrich the lives of cats and kittens in the shelter’s care. From Feb 23-March 15, Purina Cat Chow invited consumers nationwide to vote for their favorite volunteer story. Consumer votes and a judging panel determined the top shelter volunteer and four runners-up volunteers. More than 272,000 votes were cast in support of the 50 shelter volunteers.
The Winning Shelter’s $25,000 Purina Cat Chow Makeover
The Shelter Volunteer of the Year for 2015 is Liz Taranda, center of above photo, who has dedicated more than a decade to the homeless cats at the Clifton Animal Shelter in New Jersey. In recognition of Liz’s dedication over the years, Purina Cat Chow provided a $25,000 shelter makeover to improve the cat adoption areas.
The makeover included:
- a remodel of the front office to offer the best impression to potential cat parents
- refurbishing the visitation area
- new windows to provide better insulations and ventilation
- fresh paint, furniture and epoxy coating for the floor
Meet Liz Taranda, the Purina Cat Chow’s Shelter Volunteer of the Year.
The Runner-Up Winners
Watching Liz’s video, I have to admit I got teary eyed. The dedication and love Liz shows for the cats in the shelter’s care is heart-warming. Liz is the contest’s winner, but the four runners-up were also honored for their amazing commitment to their shelters and the cats waiting for their forever homes. Each of the runners-up received a $5,000 donation for their shelters.
- Lauren Godail with Animal Rescue New Orleans Lauren shares her home with four rescue cats and still makes the time to share her love with the cats waiting for their homes at the shelter. When three fire-victim cats were brought into the shelter still smelling of smoke and their owners had nowhere to go with them, Lauren stepped in to provide the cats with special care to help them through the trauma. When the cats were reunited with their family, Lauren provided household goods to help the family settle into their new home. Before she left, she kissed all three cats goodbye.
- Bob Anderson with Cat Adoption Team in Oregon Bob travels more than 200 miles every week to care for the cats at Cat Adoption Team. The staff and volunteers love him for his heroic efforts driving from the mountains in inclement weather and for his selfless large financial commitment in travel expenses. Bob’s own cat family enjoy their own four-season room with scratching posts, cat trees and toys.
- Barrett Henderson with Atlanta Humane Society in Georgia Barrett provided a home for four cats badly in need of a foster home. He lovingly provided a high level of daily care and attention to help them become adoptable cats. Barrett is on the shelter’s speed dial whenever there’s a cat in need.
- Desiree Muench with Hillside S.P.C.A. in Pennsylvania Desiree has a positive energy with which she tackles any obstacle and her attitude is contagious. She is a voice for the voiceless and has a heart of gold. She is a true inspiration and role model at Hillside SPCA.
Every participating shelter received a $1,000 donation, plus Purina Cat Chow Gentle Formula brand food and cat care. PurinaCat Chow donated nearly $100,000 among the 50 shelters in recognition of their volunteers.
For more information about Purina’s Building Better Lives program and the Volunteer of the Year contest: