When it disasters like the weekend 6.0 earthquake hit near Napa, CA, or wildfires making people become homeless and can’t afford to feed their animals, Operation Blankets of Love comes to their rescue.
Nonstop, 24/7 from volunteer animal rescuers to scores of animal shelters in California; all rely on supplies donated by pet stores, animal food warehouses and the general community. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I get calls from Napa Valley, CA after the disastrous Earthquake over the weekend,” said Eileen Smulson, founder of Operation Blankets of Love, a grassroots, community-driven nonprofit welfare organization founded in 2008.
The Sunday morning quake that sent 200 people to the hospital, two critically, also rattled a few nerves on the weekend (8/23/14) tour of the East Valley Animal Shelter, Van Nuys, CA.
“If we have a major earthquake that damages our shelter that’s when we’d bring in mobile animal shelters,” said Director Felder, Los Angeles Animal Services. “We have other facilities we can move animals to such as Pierce College for example.”
The tour was part of an Open House over the weekend for Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL). About 50-75 people packed into an open house, where Founder Smulson outlined many of the services offered.
“When the animals are brought in they sit in a concrete kennel, where they’re scare and the start shaking or become tense,” explained Felder, who led the tour. “All it takes is a warm comfortable blanket where an animal can lay on it, hide in and make them more appealing and adoptable,” she said.
When Eileen Smulson went to adopt her small dog Ginger, she voiced concerns the dog was lying on a cold, cement floor. The Shelter explained that they lacked money to buy much-needed blankets, towels, pet beds, leashes/collars, carriers, toys, dog houses and dog treats. Smulson started 20+ drop-off locations and collected more than 3,000 items in several months, which is how OBOL was born.
To date there are 75+ community access drop-off sites. OBOL has collected more than 1.75 million animal comfort and care products valued at more than $3.5 million.
“We’re one-of-a-kind in the nation,” Smulson told the crowd gathered for a tour of the East Valley Animal Shelter. “We rescue the animal rescuers fulfilling the constant need of animal shelters and comfort and care items that are not covered by their general budgets. We hope other volunteers and nonprofits copy us across the country, she said.
OBOL uses social networking to reach and mobilize people of all ages, backgrounds and economic levels to donate animal comfort/care items. Hundreds of homeless people with pets, 35 animal shelters, 450+ animal rescue groups, 100+ foster homes, two farm rescues and two wildlife sanctuaries have benefited. If you would like to volunteer visit: http://OperationBlanketsofLove.org or call 818-402-6586.