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Animal supporter is all grown up now

When Jennifer Stepic was 14 years old, she sent Best Friends a very precious 19 dollars. Now, 20 years later, she’s come to the sanctuary for the first time to see that those 19 dollars went to a good cause!

Jennifer comes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where 20 years ago, her mother got a Best Friends brochure in the mail. A teen-aged Jennifer saw it and sold candy bars, gift wrapping and cards to raise 19 dollars (a fortune to her at that age), to give to Best Friends. She asked her mother to send it, and her thank-you note was the last contact she had with Best Friends.

Until now...

Cat Sense volunteer

It turns out that raising money for Best Friends was just the start for this blossoming saleswoman. Today, she does traveling sales for Boyd’s Bears. And as a volunteer, she raises money and fosters for a local rescue group, Cat Sense, Inc. One of her favorite fundraising ideas? The "make-it-yourself gift bag." For a flat-fee donation, folks can choose from a number of cute animal-themed items on display (perhaps notepads, pens, stuffed animals, etc.) and put together a little gift bag for themselves. People just love picking and choosing, mixing and matching!

Bringing the whole crew to the Sanctuary

Volunteering for Cat Sense, Jennifer met people who had actually been to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, for the first time. Remembering her childhood donation, she was so excited to hear about their visits, and she was determined to go with them next time. And so – Best Friends got to welcome a whole bunch of the Cat Sense crew from Murrysville, Pennsylvania. The group included Mary Giannopoulos, Judy Collins and Karen Karodi.

Jennifer calls it her 20-year dream come true. But nobody was more excited to see them here than we were!

Learn about volunteering at Best Friends.