Humane Society Celebrates 7th Annual Santa Paws Fundraiser
by James Coulter
For the seventh consecutive year, the Humane Society of Polk County allowed people to share their love of their fine furry friends for the holiday season with its annual fundraiser.
The 7th Annual Santa Paws was hosted at Jensen’s Corner Bar in Winter Haven on Tuesday evening. The fundraising event allowed attendees to mingle over food catered by Arabella’s and live music performed by The Broke.
They could also enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, a specialty gingerbread martini cocktail, and participate in raffles for various prizes, including a chest of cheer and even tickets to Disney World.
Proceeds from the event go towards the daily operations of the Humane Society’s no-kill shelter, the first of its kind in Central Florida, located in Winter Haven. Every $100 donated through sponsorships helps feed two pets per month, vaccinates two pets, and spays or neuters one pet, according to the event flyer.
Beth Koon-Spiwak, President of the Humane Society, has been attending the fundraiser ever since its inception. She is grateful to see so many people turnout to support the Humane Society and its mission. She owes its success to the “tremendous support, not only from the people who attend, but a number of great sponsors.”
“This is a great way to raise money for Central Florida’s first no-kill shelter and have a great time,” she said. “This is the premier social event for this time of year. Everyone loves to support charities [during the holiday seasons].”
Lisa Baker, Executive Director of the Humane Society, owes their longevity these past seven years, especially during these uncertain times, to the community support, primarily through their many sponsorships.
“We have a lot of generous sponsors,” she said. “I appreciate people coming together to help care for Polk county’s pets. We had a fantastic turnout with everyone who showed up.”
Melanie Brown has been volunteering with the event for five years. Every year she has attended has experienced a great turnout. She appreciates the community’s dedication to attending the event year after year, especially since she considers the Humane Society to be a worthy cause.
“That is why I come out every year: because it is saving animals,” she explained. “It is a no-kill shelter, and that is important to me because I do not like seeing animals abused or put to sleep…and the whole board does a good job each year. It is a good group of people coming together.”