Written by Alyssa Wilson ~ University of Lynchburg Bonner Intern
Every season, SHARE Greater Lynchburg hosts a networking mixer for its partners to come together and discuss certain projects, ideas and give the nonprofit leaders of Lynchburg a place to intentionally connect with one another.
In the summer of 2021, SHARE hosted a mixer at the Academy Center of the Arts where many different focus areas were represented. Two of the most contrasting partners were put in a discussion group together.
“I had no clue what we were supposed to talk about, because we work with animals and they work with food,” said Michelle Thomas, Director of Development at the Lynchburg Humane Society.
Thomas and her colleague, Claire LeFew, Development and Communications Manager, were paired up with Kris Shabestar, Director of Meals on Wheels of Greater Lynchburg.
Although from the outside it appears that these two organizations serve vastly different populations and issue areas, it became apparent in their conversation that they could help each other more than they thought.
Shabestar was sharing with Thomas and LeFew that many of the people that her organization delivers meals to were sharing or splitting their meals with their animals.
“Anyone would do that for their animals. I would do that for mine in a heartbeat,” Thomas said.
The Lynchburg Humane Society receives an abundance of donations of dog and cat food on a regular basis, however the Humane Society only uses Purina products for their animals.
When they heard the need for animal food for Meals on Wheels’ “Animeals” program, LeFew and Thomas decided it would be a great collaboration to give their unused pet products to Meals on Wheels.
Delivery drivers from Meals on Wheels drive to the Humane Society regularly to pick up donated pet food as part of their collaboration with one another.
The Greater Lynchburg area is rich with nonprofit organizations of many issue areas and focuses. Although they may seem very different from the outside, when they come together these organizations find they can help each other in more ways than they thought.
The Lynchburg Humane Society and Meals on Wheels are always accepting donations of pet food, litter and other pet products. Learn more about these organizations' needs and you can help by visiting their SHARE Greater Lynchburg profiles.