Taking It To The Streets with Lori and Shira was a concept that began by Shira's concerns about stray animals on the streets and grew into a larger concern in March 2012 for the homeless pets we call 'street dogs' and the people who care for them. For many these animals are the only unconditional love and loyalty they receive. Their furry friends give them companionship while also helping them learn about responsibility.
We started out with waters, snacks and dog treats sometimes adding fleece blankets and fast food items. We would stop for those who appeared to be living 'on the streets' and had an animal with them. The more we drove around Riverside the more people and pets we would see. We used facebook as a tool to get others to help us as we did not have the finances to continue this on our own. People have been very generous making monetary and supply donations. Sometimes when money is sent there are requests it be used for certain pets seen on the daily postings on our facebook page. The requests range from buying something specific to using funds specifically for the Lifeline Spay and Neuter Clinic.
Within a short amount of time our vehicle had containers filled with pet food and supplies, toiletries, snacks, towels, socks, clothing and whatever else we could fit in. We soon approached a local storage facility and inquired about getting a unit donated. They donated a 10x10 unit in November 2012. There was no way we could fit all of the supply donations in our garage and to this day we need more space.
During that first summer we began setting up monthly "street stores" at the Calvary Church Sunday night feedings that ended with the end of Daylight Savings Time. Everything was 'free' for the taking. We took all the excess donations that were too much for us to pass out on the streets and put it on tables along with pet food so people could take what they need. As time went on we began to 'raffle' some of the nicer donations like sleeping bags, tents, etc. Each guest received one ticket which gave them an opportunity to win something special. Volunteers would number from two to ten depending on how much we had to share. The free "Street Stores" are something we have continued during the daylight savings time months.
Our local travels log between 15 and 70 miles a day as we drive from area to area looking for individuals and pets that might benefit from the kindness of our supporters. We are not social workers trying to get people clean and sober. We cannot treat those with mental illness. We cannot fix the homeless problem and we do not support panhandling or giving anyone cash.
We work to provide information about services to people seeking help that our organization may not be able to provide. We feel there is no "escape" from chronic homelessness at this point and we are out there showing the homeless and their pets that they are not invisible and that we along with our "village" of supporters feel they matter. We document our daily travels, 'street stores' and donations on our facebook page. We became a small 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization in January 2013. We Spay, Neuter, Vaccinate, MicroChip and License as many pets as we can get funding for. We do this by posting photos on our facebook page and telling our supporters what we want to do. When we reach our financial goals to make that happen we take the animals to the Lifeline Spay and Neuter Clinic. If the companions of the animals have an ID we put them in a pet friendly motel for the night so they can all rest in a clean and safe environment after the surgery.
Our Motto is "Spread A Little Kindness Today" and we work to do that every day.