It was pretty amazing when it was first reported that a first-time dog owner rescued a small variety, toy dog from the freeway. And it became an even bigger story when it was learned Founder and President Eileen Smulson, Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL) and her husband Brad rescued 60 Animal Shelters and organizations in Southern California. They drive about 600 miles a week providing blankets, animal food and pet supplies to needy groups and shelters.
It’s no wonder The Canoga Park – West Hills Chamber of Commerce handed Smulson the 2014 “Non-Profit Community Award” (Friday, May 17, 2014) for her outstanding volunteerism and philanthropy to save animals.
Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL) is an award-winning non-profit 501(c) 3 public charity. “We collect, transport and distribute recycled and new pet-related items to comfort stray, sick, neglected and abused homeless animals in shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries and foster groups,” she told the Chamber Awards Gala. “In addition, as an Emergency Response Team, we partner with those organizations to provide relief and comfort to animals that are displaced or endangered by catastrophe. The event was held at the Hilton Hotel, Woodland Hills, CA.
Operation Blankets of Love is a Partner Service Provider for The American Red Cross of Santa Monica.
Most recently OBOL has come to the rescue of wildfire victims, where animals have been displaced. It’s a 24/7 operation, but ever since Eileen Smulson rescued her little dog, “Ginger” 10 years ago, she never looked back. When she picked her up at the local dog pound later, Smulson asked, “Where’s the blanket or padding for your animals to sleep on?” The response from the animal shelter officer, “We rely on the community to provide donations.”
From that day on, Smulson started collecting first dozens, then hundreds, then hundreds of thousands of blankets and animal supplies. Pet stores have donated pet supplies and tons of cat and dog food. The donations came in so fast; the Smulson had to build two warehouses to keep the blankets, supplies and portable shelters dry and clean.
Hard to believe, however OBOL still needs blankets, pet supplies and financial donations to keep afloat and fill the gas tank to rescue dozens of animal shelters and organizations in California. In 2012, OBOL was handed a 2013 Toyota Sierra Van in a Facebook Contest, “Toyota 100 Cars for Good,” where OBOL fans voted for them as the "Best Animal Charity" in SoCal.
The Chamber also handed Bob Bartels the “Jean Jauck Volunteer Award” (Jean Jauck is widely known in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles for her many years of coordinating volunteer services and volunteering). Florine Goodman received the “Chamber Service Award” at the weekend annual civic event.