“This event is a great way to get behind the community. I believe we should always give back more than we receive,” says Trudy Ender, executive director of Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWMI).
And Grand Rapids agrees. Over 750 guests filled the ballroom at DeVos Place on Monday, for the third annual Paws, Claws & Corks.
“We’re 100% donor-funded, so everything we do has to be from donors and sponsors,” says Nicole Cook, marketing & events coordinator of HSWMI. “Events like this help us continue to raise awareness about animals and our organization in the community.”
In its inaugural year in 2012, Paws, Claws & Corks boasted a guest list of over 400 names. This year, the event raises a glass to its over 750 guests.
“Our community really cares about shelter animals,” says Ender. “They truly believe from their hearts, and their pockets, that Humane Society of West Michigan serves a community need for neglected and abandoned animals.”
The event ticket granted each guest to enjoy creative and unique silent auctions items, participation in the live auction and samplings of local wine, beer and cuisine. Twelve local restaurants showcased a taste of their menu at the event, from apple and blue cheese bruschetta served by CitySen Lounge to bacon-wrapped dates from Olive’s Restaurant and Bar. Keeping things local not only helps Grand Rapids restaurants generate awareness, but strengthens the partnerships and relationships HSWMI has with community.
If there’s one thing Ender wishes each guest leaves with after the event, it’s a full heart.
“I hope the guests are touched and that they recognize that it’s what each they do that makes the impact,” says Ender.
To Ender, her team, the HSWMI directors and the board, here’s to warm feelings, good stories and many more (dog) years.
BY LAURA BERGELLS
PHOTOS TJ HAMILTON Monday, March 24th marks the second annual Paws, Claws & Corks event at the Steelcase Ballroom in DeVos Place. When you attend, you’ll not only help raise money for the Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM), you’ll also help yourself to a mouthwatering array of fabulous cuisine, brews, and wine.
Oh, and the networking opportunities?
“We’re expecting 450 plus people to attend,” said Trudy Ender, Executive Director atHSWM. “We’d like to shoot that through the roof. Over 500 would be fantastic.”
Last year’s event raised over $84,000 for the Humane Society of West Michigan. With the support of local restaurants, businesses and individuals, this year’s event is primed to be an even bigger success.
“Whether you’re an animal owner, or you just want to support the animals in our area, we want you to come,” said Nicole Cook, Marketing & Events Coordinator for the Humane Society of West Michigan. “It’s a fun event. Whether you love food, beer, and wine — or you just want to come out and support our animals, there’s something for everyone.”
The Humane Society of West Michigan has been in our area since 1883, and relies entirely on local support to fund its programs.
“Because we’re 100% donor funded, we don’t receive any funding from the government or national animal welfare organizations,” said Cook. “So everything that we do comes directly from our community. We rely on events like this that provide the majority of our funding to care for all the animals that we have year round.”
Locally, Meijer continues to support the organization and plans to be present at the event
“Since 2004, Meijer has been a partner with the Humane Society,” said Stacie Behler, Group Vice President for Public Affairs at Meijer. “We realize the importance of rescuing and finding forever homes for pets in West Michigan. And so we love to support different events that the Humane Society puts on to raise awareness as well as raising capital. We got a lot of expenses here, caring for animals.”
The HSWM needs your support to run its 15+ critical programs. The largest program is animal adoptions.
“Currently, we have about 200 animals,” said Cook. “The majority of those are dogs and cats, but we also currently have bunnies, a couple of guinea pigs, and some hamsters.”
Another big program is Kibble Konnection.
“That’s our low income pet food bank,” explained Cook. “We believe strongly that if we can provide some supplemental services for people who are struggling a little bit that they can keep that pet in the home. The pet’s happier, the people are happier, and that’s one less animal in an already overcrowded shelter.”
Other programs include humane education, spay/neuter, and animal rehabilitation.
Come to nom-nom-nom, network, and bid on auction items. This year’s event will feature noshes and guzzles from the following restaurants:
“My involvement with HSWM and Paws, Claws & Corks stems from my love of animals, particularly dogs. I have 4 amazing large, loud and lovable dogs – Bentley, Apollo, Murphy and Jimmy. The joy they have brought into my life is immeasurable. Animals give so much of themselves to their human counterparts and the least we can do is support a great organization that is dedicated to finding them their forever homes.”
Group Vice President, Public Affairs, Meijer
“I’m not unlike thousands of Meijer customers who also have pets in their homes. Today, I was with my dog Jake. And he’s got two cat brothers that live at home with us, too. He had a sister that we had to say goodbye to in November. But we are an animal family, and lots of Meijer shoppers are animal families, too, so it’s a great fit for us to support the Humane Society.”
“My passion for animals and involvement with the HSWM started as a young child. As the current President of the Board of Directors, I continually try to find innovative ways to help the organization succeed in our wonderful community. ”