Woman with armful of various color kittens

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Draws for Paws raising funds virtually for local animal welfare organizations

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday January 13, 2022

Next Draws for Paws Giveaway January 17 will benefit an additional four rescue groups.

The Draws for Paws Facebook Giveaways has raised over $166,028 for Ottawa Valley animal centres, rescues, and organizations in less than a year.

Founder Veronda Brydges has chosen eight different groups to help on a regular basis through her giveaways. They include the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Renfrew County Animal Centre, the Arnprior and District Humane Society, Calabogie Animal Rescue, Dickie’s Cause 4 Paws, Furry Tales Cat Rescue, Lanark Animal Welfare Society, Valley Animal Rescue and Whiskers and Alley Cats.

Four additional animal welfare organizations will be added temporarily to the roster on Jan. 17 in honour of actress Betty White’s death. The ten groups’ names will be placed on a wheel which will be spun to decide which will be picked, and the chosen four will receive $500.

The concept for this giveaway is simple.

A prize is posted on the page, and people must purchase a set amount of stickers to be entered into the draw. Money collected from the draw is then donated to the designated charitable organizations.

It isn’t technically a fundraiser as the stickers are considered a purchase, but Brydges is clear, open and transparent about where the money is going. She is not making any profit.

“Every dollar that I send to the shelters, I tell people, so they know where the money is going,” she said, “and the rescues are on their own pages verifying that they got $1,000 or $1,500 or whatever, so people can support their local animal centres and can win a prize.”

There are currently eight regular recipients, but Brydges hopes to increase that to 10 groups in the future, and possibly add a monthly guest recipient. 

The idea to start the Facebook page was born of necessity. She was a regular at trade shows and always donated part of her profits to different animal groups. With the ongoing pandemic, these shows disappeared, but not her desire to help vulnerable animals.

“I couldn’t go and donate my time at the centres because then my house would be filled with animals,” said Brydges. “I wouldn’t be able to leave them. I’d be bringing them all home with me.”

So she found another way to help. When she came across a similar giveaway group, she was inspired to create Draws for Paws.

Launched on Feb. 7, 2021, the group has grown exponentially. Over 3,400 people from all over the country now participate in these draws.

“I started this by myself and didn’t figure it would get to the extent it would get to now,” she said, pointing out it is only so successful due to her dedicated team.

Joining Brydges in moderating the page are Amanda Dawe, Jennifer Mason, Patrick Brydges and Katie Bourgon.

“I couldn’t do this without my administrators,” said Brydges.

To join and participate in the giveaway, please visit the Draws for Paws Giveaway Facebook group.