Local animal rescue organizations say they are already benefiting from an initiative inspired by the late Hollywood icon Betty White.
The animal lover passed away on December 31, 2021, just weeks before her 100th birthday.
In order to honor the beloved actor on the occasion of what would have been his centennial celebration on January 17th, the #BettyWhiteChallenge was born.
The social media-focused challenge encourages people to donate $ 5 or more to their local animal shelter or rescue on January 17th.
#BettyWhiteChallenge: Fans to Honor TV Icon with Animal Rescue Donations
The late actress was known for her advocacy for animal causes and spent much of her time raising funds for shelters and animal rights organizations.
While the official challenge date is still days away, animal rescue organizations in Alberta say they have already seen an increase in donations.
“People mostly donated online or we got a few donation checks,” said Deanna Thompson, executive director of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.
“We also just learned maybe an hour ago that one of our donors will match donations for the #BettyWhiteChallenge up to $ 1,000. So, at $ 5 each, 200 people will earn an additional $ 1,000 to help homeless animals.
“So that was pretty exciting news that we received from our donor.”
The CEO of the Edmonton Humane Society said he, too, has already seen a number of people donate in honor of White.
Sunwing plane party organizer slams airlines, some passengers catch COVID
Critical illness does not increase as fast as the “huge” number of Omicron infections: Tam
“It really means a lot to us,” said Liza Sunley, adding that around 70% of the income generated by EHS each year comes from donations.
“We are really excited to see these donations arrive in honor of Betty White and expect to see them continue to arrive and increase.”
Betty White, Hollywood icon and TV’s Golden Girl, dead at 99
EHS has a personal connection to White.
In 2011, the actor shot an advertisement for an animal welfare foundation with a dog named Yogi. Thanks to an organization called California Cuties, the dog ended up being transferred from California to Edmonton and adopted through the EHS.
“It’s just kind of a really interesting bond that we have with Betty White,” Sunley said. “We have been feeling Betty White’s support and presence for some time.”
Both organizations rely heavily on donations to do their work and say the increased funding could not have come at a better time.
“In January, we are seeing a huge drop in donations,” said Thompson. “Around Christmas it’s pretty good and after January 1st we don’t see much anymore, so that will be a really good bonus for us.
“The funds will go to help so many animals. We are overflowing with dogs right now here at the shelter, there are so many animals in need. With this cold weather, we try to get in as much as possible.
“This is really going to help ensure that we are able to save more animals.”
Betty White’s death sparks reaction from old and young in Hollywood
“It was really moving for the people and it was moving for us, certainly, to receive the donations and to hear from these people who were touched by her,” added Sunley.
“We are so dependent on the community and we are so grateful that they continue to support our work for so long. And it means a lot to see these gifts coming. We are very dependent on donations to do the work we do and so every dollar, every donation that comes to us really means a lot to us.
Both organizations accept online donations. For more information, visit the AARCS or EHS websites.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.