ROCKINGHAM – Hudson Brothers’ Deli was host to the Richmond County Humane Society’s fundraiser Saturday night.
Thanks to the exceedingly well-orchestrated efforts of Humane Society personnel and the Hudson Brothers’ staff, there was standing room only throughout the entire five hours of the event, with everyone having a great time enjoying the evening while working towards a good cause.
“We have no way of knowing how many people actually came in, but we quickly sold out our allotment of 110 steak plates AND 150 raffle tickets, so it had to be at least 200,” said Brandy Alfredson of the Human Society.
Co-organizer Jessie Covington agreed, adding, “I would have to say that it was a very successful fundraiser!”
Robin Roberts, manager of Hudson Brothers, and thus a good estimator of what constitutes a “packed house”,” concurred saying they expected a crowd, but nothing like the one that showed up.
The estimate of 200 attendees may indeed be conservative; At any given time there were another groups of patrons congregating in the back alley (which just happened to be where the steaks were sizzling on the grill) and a number of families had called in pick-up orders beforehand, so a lot of traffic was moving in and out throughout the duration of the festivities.
Regardless of who came in or how long they stayed, all of the money that was raised through the sales of steaks and tickets went directly to helping the Humane Society provide rescue efforts to the many dogs and cats (and other animals as well) housed at the Animal Shelter (which is an entity unto itself and not directly associated with the Humane Society).
“A lot of people get us confused with the Animal Shelter,” said Alfredson. “But we are totally separate from them. We work together to do what we can for the animals, but their job is to provide the temporary housing while our job is to find good homes for them.”
While it may be referred to as a “job,” it would seem to be much more of a “calling” on the part of everyone associated with supporting the Humane Society. All of the Society personnel who were working at the fundraiser were essentially volunteering their time, as were the Hudson Brothers’ staff members (Robin Roberts, Sarah Wright and Sarah McDuffie; the deli is normally closed on Saturdays) and disc jockey Robert Smith (who provided music and karaoke throughout the evening).
It should also be noted that a volunteer (who declined the offer of receiving credit for his efforts) manned the grill for four hours, cooking all 110 steaks to perfection
“There is always a need for volunteers who can commit to being there for the animals,” said former board chair Carolyn Herndon, who noted that at least 20-30 dogs need to be rescued each month, and that as many as 1,000 dogs and 600 cats have been in need of Humane Society aid in a given year.
It was mentioned multiple times that two girls in particular, Hanna Marks and Kenisha Crouch, form the base team that keep things operating smoothly and efficiently at the Humane Society.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” said several persons familiar with Humane Society operations. “They go so far beyond the call of duty in all aspects of our efforts that it would not be possible to keep up otherwise. They are always doing much more than the job description requires.”
It was also noted that the Humane Society relies totally upon charitable donations and fundraisers such as the “Raise the Woof” awareness event. As a 100 percent non-profit organization, donations are paramount and essential to maintain any semblance of a continuous operation to rescue these animals.
Board member Wendi Herndon and supporter Katie Rohleder echoed the call for help from the community, citing the ongoing and continuous need for reliable volunteers and various types of donations (e.g., not only money, but blankets, cleaning items, food, etc.). Another supporter, Corey Davis, a former social worker who now provides “similar services” for our four-legged buddies, cited the need for assistance with veterinarian bills as a major necessity as well.
If Saturday night was any indication, the show of support from the community will certainly remain evident from now on. Not only was the great number of attendees impressive (as were business contributions of staff time and items such as a Yeti cooler and gas card), but when the grand prize of $1,000 was won by Keith Covington, he immediately donated all of his winnings directly back to the Society.
But, of course, the greatest need is that of good homes for the animals themselves. When pressed for a quote to capture the moment, supporter Connie Johnson (with a little help from her friend at the table) said, “Don’t shop – adopt.”
ince this exact verbiage was often repeated by others as well, perhaps we would do well to heed their advice, so let’s remember: don’t shop, adopt, please. Your newfound furry family members (not to mention the Humane Society personnel themselves) will be most appreciative for your show of support in the most meaningful manner possible, which is taking them home.