“Show Your Pets A Christmas Tree” Initiative Strives To Get As Many Food Donations As Possible
This is probably the easiest way to do a good deed and help to feed the shelter animals—from December 28th onwards, a video is spreading on Facebook where likes will be converted into real portions of food.
The video is a final part of a traditional 5-year-old continuous campaign called “Show Your Pet a Christmas Tree,” placed on the Facebook wall of the organizers of the event—the NGO Animal Welfare Initiatives.
Even though the event is different this year, for safety reasons, it was moved to Facebook, where people have uploaded pictures of their pets near their Christmas trees instead of meeting up in person in Vilnius Cathedral square. However, the main purpose of the event remains the same—to gather as much food for shelter animals as possible, says Beatričė Vaitiekūnaitė-Pliuskė, the head of Animal Welfare Initiatives.
“The final video of our campaign was watched (thanks to our permanent event partner, Mazylis Films) and liked by 21 thousand people last year, so we sent 21 thousand portions of food to the animal shelters in Lithuania. This year, we invite people to be active and beat this record by collecting even more likes,” says the head of Animal Welfare Initiatives.
“Show your pet a Christmas tree” 2020 event cover
People around the country can watch, like, and share the original video from the 28th of December till the 4th of January at 9 AM. Likes will be converted into food by a constant partner of the campaign, pet food manufacturer Mars Lietuva.
“I sincerely hope that the invitation to turn likes into portions of food for shelter animals will create an interest among animal owners and lovers—this is a great opportunity to create Christmas for the less advantaged four-legged friends. And even though our traditions had to be adapted to the situation and different rhythm of life, our vision of creating a better world for shelter animals does not change,” says Mindaugas Rupšys, the representative of the campaign partner Mars Lietuva.
The event is vital for shelters, and some can last up to a year from the donations
Small shelters last up to a year from the received donation. The food collected during the campaign this year will be intended for 5 shelters: Klajūnas, Miško trobelė, Keturkojis draugas, Felium Domus, and Naminukai. Most of the shelters operating in Lithuania are non-profit organizations, maintained only by society’s donations and volunteers’ work.
2020 is even more challenging for the shelters due to COVID-19
Unfortunately, this year is even more challenging for the shelters due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the founder of the shelter Felium Domus, Gintarė Klimavičienė, “The donations decreased by almost 80% due to lack of events and lack of support from schools and public. So the food we collect during the ‘Show your pet a Christmas tree’ campaign is vital for us.”
1 like on the Facebook post gets 1 portion of food
The shelter taking care of dogs, cats, turtles, and guinea pigs, Forest Hut, is participating in the project for the second year in a row. “The donation received during the campaign significantly reduces the financial burden for at least half a year; that is why we can accept more animals or spend more money on medical care. We can also get involved more actively in the Catch-Sterilize-Release program, which focuses on homeless cats,” said Eglė Marija Ramanauskaitė, the head of the Forest Hut.
“The shelters are overcrowded and their situation is even worse than usual due to animals taken from illegal breeders. Many illegal breeding houses were uncovered in Lithuania last autumn. Animals were kept and bred in appalling conditions, so about 500 dogs and cats were rescued and have spread throughout the country’s shelters,” said B. Vaitiekūnaitė-Pliuskė, head of Animal Welfare Initiatives.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s participants were asked to capture their animals in front of their own Christmas tree
She noted that while in the current form of the campaign—a game where one click of a computer mouse turns into real food, time is still our greatest value—the focus of the campaign shows the goodwill and concern of the public, not to mention the real support of likes.
During the “Show your Pet a Christmas Tree” campaign established in 2016, 46,000 portions of food were distributed to animal shelters operating in Lithuania.
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