RANBURNE — Kaitlynn Fincher, 10, loves her own pets and wants to help others keep theirs during the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kids at my school were saying that they had to get rid of their pets and if I was that kid I would start crying because I love my pets, I don’t want anyone else to have to get rid of theirs,” Fincher said.
Fincher decided to start a fundraiser — Funds For Your Furry Friends — to help others hold on to their pets after seeing firsthand how parents had to make tough economic choices.
“They were more worried about feeding the kids than they were the pets,” said Fincher.
Kaitlynn’s mom, Lauren Benefield, remembers the day when her daughter approached her with her idea back in April to start a fundraiser.
“She came to me one day and said, ‘Momma, I’ve got an idea, can I do a fundraiser and raise money so that I can buy cat food and dog food and give it to people because everybody is doing all the food drives for people, you don’t see anyone around here doing it for animals,’” said Benefield.
Benefield was supportive of her daughter’s idea but was uncertain if it would be a success due to the tough economy.
“She raised about $630,” said Benefield, who was quite pleased with that amount.
“She was able to purchase 200 bags of cat food, dog food and cans of food,” said Benefield.
On June 6 the family set up a tent next to a gas station in Ranburne on Alabama 46 and gave away the majority of the food along with other pet supplies.
The pet food that was not given away will be taken to a pet rescue in Cedartown, Ga., and animal shelters in Anniston and Carroll County, Ga.
Benefield was proud of her daughter and said it was “awesome” that she stepped up and actually did something when she saw a need.
“Most kids, if they get any kind of money and stuff, they want to buy things for themselves and not raise money and buy stuff and give it away to other people, especially cats and dogs,” Benefield said.
Fincher said the positive experience from the fundraiser will carry over to other fundraising endeavors in the future.
“It makes me feel really good, it makes me feel happy,” said Fincher, who plans on becoming a veterinarian later in life.
Fincher said that one woman who picked up pet food during the giveaway told her not many 10-year-olds are worried about others, and that she was proud of her.