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A Little Black Friday Shopping

If you’re going out shopping the day after Thanksgiving, we’d like you to add a few items to your list.

We expect that next week HumaneWatch will hit an exciting milestone: 200,000 fans on Facebook. It’s our celebration, but we want America’s overstressed pet shelters to get the presents. And that’s where you come in.

We’re designating Saturday, December 4 as “Shelter Supply Saturday.” You can participate by buying supplies for a nearby humane society or other pet shelter, and delivering it on the 4th.

Next week we’ll give you a PDF that you can print out and attach to your gift, letting the shelter personnel know how your act of kindness came about—and why. We’re hoping thousands of you will open up your hearts and visit shelters in person on December 4 to deliver your gifts.

What do shelters need? Let’s take a look. 

You might think that pet shelters would need dog food and cat food. Some do, to be sure, but it’s hard to know which brand a given shelter uses, and most animal care professionals don’t want to switch pets’ diets around too much.

So instead of recommending that, we’re taking our cue from a new website called The Giving Effect, which launched in August with the mission of helping charities collect donations of surplus and gently used materials from Americans who would rather part with their stuff than their money.

According to The Bark, The Giving Effect polled 250 pet shelter managers who registered for its service that matches up donors with recipients. Here are the five (rather surprising) items that they said shelters need most:

  1. Office supplies (computers, printers, fax machines, phones, paper, pens) Ӭ
  2. Cleaning supplies (bleach, laundry detergent, Fantastik, Windex) Ӭ
  3. Blankets, sheets, and towels Ӭ
  4. Miscellaneous items that can be sold to raise money Ӭ
  5. Building supplies (to construct fences, crates, dog runs)

There you have it. If you already have a relationship with a pet shelter—heck, even if you don’t—we’d recommend calling first to find out what its specific needs are. Here are three online databases of shelters. [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] At least one of them is bound to be helpful.

We hope you’ll plan to set aside December 4 to deliver a “Shelter Supply Saturday” gift to a needy organization near you. Stay tuned for more information next week.

And Happy Thanksgiving!