By CHRISTINA RITCHIE ROGERS
Cornelius resident Roxanne Blake’s 2010 New Year’s resolution saved lives.
“I’m going to get Pawbrokers on the map if it kills me,” she said, and spent the rest of the year focussed on making the fundraising group a success.
She came up with the idea for Pawbrokers, an organization raising money for animal rescue through the sale of donated jewelry, in April of 2009. She spent weeks encouraging her friends to clean out their jewelry boxes and give her pieces they no longer wanted. Then she and her friend, Peninsula resident Linda Taylor, hosted a party in Ms. Taylor’s home at which guests could purchase the donated jewelry.
The event raised $2,200, all of which Ms. Blake donated to a local animal rescue organization. And that was only the beginning.
“The next morning I got up and said, this is big. There’s no reason we can’t do this again,” Ms. Blake said. She planned another party, and raised $1,800.
By January 2010, she was ready to hit the ground running. She hosted 23 parties last year and donated $26,000 to different animal rescue organizations – enough to spay, neuter and vaccinate more than 400 dogs and cats.
ALTON’S KITCHEN LENDS A HAND
Tuesday night, Ms. Blake transformed the top floor of Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails, at Jetton Village, into a jewelry boutique for the latest Pawbrokers party. Every available surface – tables and even chairs – were covered with hundreds of necklaces, rings, bracelets, watches and brooches, most on sale for $10 or less. And, for every signature “Pawtini” drink sold at the bar, Alton’s donated $1 to Pawbrokers.
The event raised more than $2400 for Noah’s Arks Rescue, an organization based in Greenwood, S.C. – enough to spay or neuter and vaccinate about 40 animals.
SHELTERS IN GREAT NEED
Ms. Blake selects only no-kill animal rescue organizations and shelters with 501(c)3 nonprofit status as recipients of Pawbrokers donations. She wants to ensure that the money donated will be spent appropriately, she said.
A bookkeeper with AMS Networking in Charlotte, Ms. Blake runs Pawbrokers in addition to her job. She also spends every Saturday transporting animals from high-kill shelters in South Carolina to no-kill shelters up north. She drives the third leg of a 10- to 14-leg trip up the east coast. Just last week, she drove 39 puppies from Greenville, S.C. to High Point, N.C. on their way to a shelter farther north.
“The animal situation down here just makes me cry,” she said.
While most Pawbrokers parties so far have been in the greater Charlotte area, Ms. Blake hopes to find partnering sponsors nationwide so that shelters along the east coast and across the country can receive much-needed funding and continue to rescue and care for animals.
“This is such a dream of mine,” she said, “I’m obsessed with it.”