For just under a century, actress and comedian Betty White has dedicated her life to animal care.
Following White’s death at 99 on December 31, Twitter user Lisa Powell suggested that what would have been White’s 100th birthday on January 17 should be celebrated with donations to animal shelters across the country. country. White’s contributions to animal conservation are vast, enough to inspire her 2011 book “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo.”
According to a few Lancaster County animal shelters, this charitable spirit has made itself known locally.
“You’ve seen it all over the country – big, small, it’s so cool that Betty fans did this,” says Mari Anne Smeltzer, executive assistant at the Lancaster County Pet Pantry, which has received more than $10,000 during the week of January 17. Smeltzer says the funds will help fund an animal vaccination clinic Feb. 5-6 for low-income families in Lancaster County.
In Marietta, Raven Ridge Wildlife Center received over $3,000. The center specializes in birds of prey, so the funds will help cover the exorbitant costs of shipping frozen bird food.
“We didn’t expect this, so it gives us a chance to get a head start,” says Tracie Young, manager and rehabilitator at Raven Ridge. “In February, we usually hold our breath, because sometimes (funds) run out and we struggle.”
The Humane League of Lancaster County, founded in 1917, received 400 donations totaling $10,000, according to Humane League media specialist Renee Rivera.
Although not within the Lancaster County boundary, Speranza Pet Rescue has been a constant presence in the local animal community since Libre, a dog found near death in 2016, was rescued from a farm in southern Lancaster County. According to a January 19 Facebook post, the rescue raised around $35,000.
In addition to a wave of monetary donations, shelters also reported receiving toys, cleaning supplies and other needed items.
Although these were direct donations to local rescues, Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta reported that the respective platforms raised a total of $12.7 million in the week of 17 January for pet shelters across the country.
If you represent an animal shelter in Lancaster County and would like to report a donation arising from the Betty White Challenge, please email [email protected]