Yes To Pets – A Successful Fundraiser Journey

In September 2022, my family had the opportunity to work with our community on a pet food and supply drive for one of the shelters in our area. Since COVID-19, a number of shelters have seen an influx of unwanted pets, so their pantries have become sparse. Due to the shelter’s need, I wondered if my sons’ karate dojo could do a food drive for Lost Our Home Pet Rescue in Tempe, AZ…and voila! Yes To Pets was born.

Where Did Yes To Pets Originate?

The story behind Yes to Pets is pretty interesting.

Once upon a time in March/April 2022…we began looking for a cat FOR our cat, Hunter. (Yes, we were looking for a cat for our cat!) We originally adopted Hunter from Lost Our Home Pet Rescue and loved how they care for their pets and how they interact with their community. So, we went back to Lost Our Home Pet Rescue to find a friend.

Lost Our Home Pet Rescue


Who is Lost Our Home Pet Rescue?

Lost Our Home is the only shelter in Arizona to open up their hearts to people who are facing difficult times. They want pets to stay with their families, so they provide short term shelter for pets while the pet parents work through financial instability, domestic violence, medical situations, or homelessness. Once people are able to get back on their feet, their pets are returned home to be with their families.

*According to their website, more than 1,700 pets have been reunited with their families!*

The shelter also has a food bank where people can get pet food and supplies when they are in need. This program helps families with up to 6 pets and for up to 6 months. Again, this helps keep pets with their families, instead of having to look for a new

I had an Idea!

When my family visited LOH, I noticed the pantry was fairly bare and I had an idea… Now that COVID is basically over…let’s get our karate dojo involved and do a food drive! Let’s overflow the shelves!

I discussed the idea with the owner of the karate dojo, and he said it’s a great idea. It allows the dojo and students to give back to the community and return to pre-COVID days. It could be a fun event and our students LOVE animals.

Poor Sensei was bombarded on a weekly basis of how and when we were going to start the food drive. It was going to take a little time to plan it and set it up so we could execute the plan.

The Mustard Seed Grows:

Little did I know, my small idea was going to become a large community event where over 25 local businesses would participate.

The Community Said Yes To Pets.Yes To Pets

Sensei thought about how we could make the food drive an absolute success. He came up with the great idea to not only involve the dojo, but to involve all of Ahwatukee businesses(our community). One day in June or July, he went to our local print shop, Print Smart to discuss some work to be done.

He looked down at the business mascot…a cute little Yorkie named Kayla and asked Dave, the owner…” Would you ever say no to her?” Dave, of course, said he would never say no to Kayla because she is part of the family.

Print Smart and Mountainside Martial Arts Said Yes!

At that time Sensei began talking of the idea of the food drive and the name “Yes to Pets”. It took no time for Dave to say he was all in. The excitement was palpable and Dave quickly created the logo and purchased the domain name within days. He also created the website and purchased the donation boxes that were placed in our local businesses.

And so the planning begins…and “Yes to Pets” was going to be launched September 1, 2022.

How Will We Get the Community Businesses Involved?

After discussing the idea with Dave, it became apparent, that he should definitely be involved in the decision-making. Sensei was also looking at how to get the word out to get community involvement. Enter our local newspaper, The Ahwatukee Foothills News (owned by Times Media Group).

The owner of the company made a generous offer to provide free advertising for the whole month of September. Not only was “Yes to Pets” advertised on their website, but it was also in the weekly print, and we had a number of articles written throughout the month. Click these links to read: ArticleArticle 1; Article 2

Local Businesses:

We were also able to obtain a list of local business who were members of the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce. There was so much excitement amongst the business owners about being able to be a part of the “Yes to Pets” food drive. We were able to place donation boxes in 26 locations throughout Ahwatukee.

The Excitement Catches On


I talked a little about Times Media Group and their willingness to donate ad space and write articles. What came next was truly amazing!

We were looking to reach more businesses and community members, so we reached out to our local news and radio stations. Our number 1 radio station, 97.9 KUPD’s morning show, Holmberg’s Morning Sickness, was generous and provided air time to promote the food drive. They also listed it on their social media pages to help increase awareness.

Local Businesses:

The Ahwatukee businesses also promoted the food drive on their websites and social media sites. Some even offered great discounts for their products if their customers brought in a donation.

We had about 3-4 large donation boxes filled throughout the community, that I asked the dojo staff to pick the donations so the businesses could collect more.

An Entire Month and a Community’s Generosity

It would be wrong to say everything went smoothly, but with the community’s generosity, Yes to Pets was a HUGE success. Without the 30 local businesses and the constant communication, and media presence, I don’t think we would have made s much of an impact as we did.

It was amazing to see number of people who truly care about pets and who were willing to help a local shelter who was in need of supplies. Ahwatukee local businesses stepped up and made an impact on a number of pets’ lives.

A number of businesses were able to fill up their large donation boxes early in the month to where the dojo staff collected the donations and stored them in their study center. That allowed for the businesses to collect more for the rest of the month.

I was beyond proud of what our community was able to do!

The Outcome

My nerves got the best of me at the beginning of the food drive because my name and my kids’ dojo name was on the line. What started out to be a small idea…a little seed…turned into a beautiful large undertaking.

My ultimate goal was to be able to overflow the shelves at LOH with food, toys, blankets, cleaning supplies, and I was worried that people / businesses wouldn’t respond or we would just be able to provide a fraction of what was hoped for.

Boy, was I wrong! (And yes, I should have listened to Sensei when he said everything would work out!)


At the end of September, my husband, my oldest son, one of the dojo employees and I went around Ahwatukee to collect donations. We filled a large portion of the dojo study center with so much food, blankets, treats, toys, cleaning supplies, and even some medicine. The room smelled like dog food!

On October 1st, 2022, it took 2 large SUVs and a truck and 2 trips (with all 3 vehicles) to the shelter to unload all the donations the Ahwatukee local businesses collected. There were so many donations, and Lost Our Home Pet Rescue was extremely grateful for what our community was able to achieve!

I will be honest…. I was exhausted after delivering all the donations, but my heart was full! I saw how a community can come together to help others without hesitation.

How Yes To Pets Changed Me

I have contemplated how Yes to Pets has changed me, and it is really in 2 ways.

  1. I love my community even more! It was so amazing to see the excitement and the drive of the local businesses to be a part of a food drive to help our local animal shelter. This food drive showed me that even after COVID, we are united and are willing to step out of our comfort zone to help others, regardless of the situation.
  2. I trust my abilities more. Now, I know this sounds a bit selfish…but it actually isn’t. This is actually part of my journey of finding who I am and what I am supposed to be when I grow up (obviously not Toys R Us Kid!) I have always been down on myself and always thought I wasn’t capable of being a part of something successful. I knew I could come up with ideas, but conveying them or trying to act on them seemed to always fall flat.

Side Note:

This Yes To Pets journey showed me that I am capable of being a part of something successful and that I can implement ideas and actions with the support of a community…and an amazing mentor…Sensei. It may not always be in the time frame of my choosing, but with patience and a positive attitude, success is possible.

This personal side of the journey showed how much I would prefer to work in animal welfare and create fundraisers or food/supply drives for those shelters in need. I want to see pets adopted and in good homes and shelters empty, but until then…. I want to be able to help the shelters by filling their pantries and helping them with supplies / medicinal necessities, etc…


Yes to Pets was a phenomenal success! A small idea turned into a community event and we are looking to do it again in September 2023.


Both Sensei and I agree…we want this to go Valley wide and eventually Nationwide. We want to stock the shelves of the rescues throughout the U.S. The only question is…are you in? Would you be willing to help out in your community? Can all of us provide the necessities to where the rescues can help more pets and families?

My challenge for all of us is to find a shelter or organization to where we can alleviate some of the pressure of every day needs.

Are you in?

24 thoughts on “Yes To Pets – A Successful Fundraiser Journey”

  1. I just came across this article on “Yes to Pets – A Fundraiser Journey” and I have to say, I’m thoroughly impressed! This article talks about a fundraiser that was organized to help raise money for animal shelters and pet rescue organizations, and let me tell you, I love me some furry friends!

    I have a little experience with animal fundraising myself. I’ve participated in a few charity walks and sponsored runs to raise money for local animal shelters, and let me tell you, it’s a great feeling to know that you’re helping to make a difference in the lives of our furry friends. And it seems like this fundraiser, “Yes to Pets,” is no exception!

    The article mentions how the fundraiser was a huge success, with people coming from all over to support the cause. It’s amazing to see how much love and support there is for our furry friends! I have a few questions for the author of the article and for anyone who participated in the fundraiser. How much money was raised in total? And what kind of impact has this fundraiser had on the animal shelters and pet rescue organizations it was supporting?

    In terms of my own thoughts on the topic, I have to say that I’m a big believer in supporting animal shelters and pet rescue organizations. These organizations do an amazing job of taking care of our furry friends, but they can only do so much with the limited resources they have. That’s why fundraisers like this are so important – they help to provide these organizations with the support they need to continue their amazing work.

    In conclusion, I have to say that I’m thoroughly impressed by the “Yes to Pets” fundraiser. It’s heartwarming to see so many people coming together to support our furry friends, and I hope that events like this continue to be organized in the future. If you have the chance to participate in a fundraiser for animal shelters or pet rescue organizations, I would highly recommend it – you’ll be making a difference in the lives of our furry friends, and you’ll feel great about it too!

    1. Hi Bob,

      It was a great food drive to overflow the pantry shelves at the shelter. We don’t have numbers regarding any monetary donations that made it to the shelter based on our food drive; however, we supplied them with food, blankets, toys, leashes, bedding, and even medication. It took my SUV, my husband’s SUV, my mom’s truck, 5 people and 2 round trips to deliver ALL of the supplies. 

      The food drive not only supplied this shelter, it also allowed LOH to provide food and supplies to other shelters in the area. Talking with the staff, the shelters all communicate and help each other out. They were also able to bag up pouches of food (where the bags were already open), and hand out to the homeless that had pets. 

      The food drive reached so many people and pets that we are definitely planning on doing it again next September!

  2. One of the unique aspects of Lost Our Home Pet Rescue is that they focus on rescuing animals from the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control system. This means that Lost Our Home Pet Rescue is the last hope for many animals who are at risk of being euthanized due to overcrowding in the county shelters.

    The organization works hard to ensure that every animal in their care receives the best possible care and find forever homes. They also provide assistance to pet owners who are struggling with medical costs and provide food assistance for those in need.

    Lost Our Home Pet Rescue truly exemplifies the importance of animal welfare and the need for community involvement in order to help homeless animals. They are an amazing organization that is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of animals in need.

  3. Hi Kelly,

    A great blog on pets. Congratulations on putting this up!

    It is one of the most inspiring blog I read about pet care. Your personal commitment to drive this though was the sole reason of success. I guess when you want to help someone, the doors open up as exactly in this case.

    Yes to Pets was a definite Yes to Pets by the Ahwatuke Community and they opened their hearts to pets – you were the channel to it.

    Great job and great post. Keep it going.


  4. When it comes to my own feelings on the matter, I will say that I am strongly in favor of helping organizations that rescue homeless pets and animals. Despite their best efforts, these groups simply do not have enough money to meet all the needs of our animal companions. That’s why events like this one are crucial; they allow good causes to keep doing their amazing work with the funds they raise.thank youfor this amazing article..

    1. I agree! I also love the fact that Lost Our Home Pet Rescue helps families keep their pets in the home. So, not only do they help homeless pets, they help people in need.

  5. What a very heart-warming article. 

    Yes to pets was a fantastic idea, well arranged, and ultimately, the best outcome that Lost our home pet rescue could recieve. 

    By the amount of donations you recieved I could only imagaine the loudness of cries from cats and dogs within that building. 

    Great job on organizing it through the dojo, I bet everyone was extatic from the outcome.

    1. Definitely! Everyone was extremely pleased with the outcome…we are still talking about it and are starting to plan one for next September!  Thanks for your comments!

  6. Hey there, fellow animal lovers! I stumbled upon this website and was intrigued by the heartwarming story behind Yes to Pets fundraiser journey. As a pet owner myself, I can totally relate to the struggles of finding affordable vet care and the importance of organizations that support pet healthcare.

    The article highlights the amazing work done by the Yes to Pets team and the impact they’ve had on the community. It’s inspiring to see people come together for a cause they believe in, and this story is a great example of that.

    My question for the author would be, what advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting their own fundraiser for a cause they’re passionate about? And to the rest of the readers, have you ever participated in a fundraising event? What was your experience like? Let’s keep the conversation going!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I think if you are interested in starting a fundraiser like this for a cause you love….just do it! Take your time to think things through and talk to people who have experience in fundraising and/or marketing. Get other involved because you will find they can bring great ideas to the table. And…When you are in the midst of the fundraiser, remember, you don’t get a day off…you will think, eat, breathe, and sleep your event. 

  7. well hello! I appreciate your hard work. You delivered such a great piece of information everyone needs. Last year I adopted a cat from shelter. she was in such a bad situation and she needed help. so I start helping her and after  while she became so healthy and happy. This was a great journey for both of us. 

  8. Hey a great post you have here!

    It’s nice to see that you opted for a shelter. Adopting is better than shopping because those babies need a home after being abandoned. 
    Great to see that the business has thrived, such an amazing and thoughtful business deserves too! Keep up the work!

    It’s always great to see all the kind and generous donations from people!

    Have a great day!

    1. Thank you so much! We are looking forward to the food drive this coming September as well!

  9. I like the idea of the Lost Our Home Pet Rescue. I am beginning to think of starting up something like that in my community. I see some homeless dogs on the street, and it hurts my heart. It’s time I begin work with dog owners who have challenges to help keep the dogs in good health condition while they sort out their challenges. That way we will be building a health.

    1. Agreed! Helping families while helping pets stay in the home is crucial to the community as well as to the overcrowding of pet rescues. I think it’s a great idea!

  10. This article melted my heart!! I absolutely love animals!! I also commend you for the work you have done with your organization.  I am so glad there are people like you around to help these animals. And a side note I love the picture of the cat at the top of the article! Very well written! And I appreciate the work you do for these furry friends 

  11. Hey Kelly! These little “plush balls” are so cute after all. I also love cats very much. But you should only get a pet, I think, if you really have the time. At least 2 hours a day. I’m super, what you have done there, have put on the legs, and I think it’s totally cool. Hopefully there will soon be more people out there who are more committed to our “little ones”. Wow you have already written a lot about it, see also your other articles. Yes a strong community is one of the most important things not only digital! Keep on your good work! Many Greetings, Tom.

    1. Thanks so much Tom. Community is the most important aspect of any fundraiser. If you don’t have the community to back you, then it won’t be successful.  We were very fortunate in having great support within our community last year and are looking forward to the upcoming food drive as well.

  12. Truly inspirational post. It shows not only how much you love animals but also how much committed you are in making this work. I do not have any experience with fundraising but I do understand how difficult and how much time consuming it can be. You have to give all your energy to be successful and your actions speak for themselves. Great work!!

    1. Thank you so much! I am super excited to see how the food drive goes this September!

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