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The Big Party Returns To Benefit Pets & Families In Need

The annual “Charlie’s Birthday Bash” will return this year to support the hundreds of pets and families in need, assisted by the Humane Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry. The grand celebration is scheduled from 1-4 pm on October 7 at Rich’s Auto Center, located at 2135 Sand Point Road, Fort Wayne.

If you’ve ever been a customer or guest at Rich’s Auto Center, you’ve probably met Charlie, the resident ‘Shop Dog.’ Charlie usually relaxes at the back of the shop, observing the vehicles being serviced and awaiting a pat from the auto technicians as they walk by. Charlie is now “retired” but still is excited to host a party.

For his birthday, Charlie is hosting this grand event, open to the public. He invites all his canine pals, their owners, and pet enthusiasts to join the festivities. However, this isn’t just any birthday party. Instead of gifts, Charlie requests dry pet food or monetary donations to benefit his friends in the community.

Due to growing economic pressures, the pantry’s services are an increasing need for many families in the Fort Wayne community and surrounding areas. “Our community Pet Food Pantry assists over 375 families weekly,” says Chele Watson, Pet Promises Resource Administrator at Humane Fort Wayne. “This translates to roughly 1,300 animals receiving meals from our program each week. Deciding to relinquish a beloved pet to a shelter is a heart-wrenching decision for many families. Our Pantry aims to keep families intact and pets in their cherished homes by alleviating one of the most significant financial burdens—pet food.”

The event will feature refreshments and a beautifully adorned birthday cake for human attendees. Well-behaved dogs are invited to frolic in a fenced grass and asphalt area. The Pitbull Coalition will also introduce some adoptable dogs. This year’s silent auction showcases artwork created by Humane Fort Wayne shelter kittens, along with local gift certificates and presents suitable for all pet lovers. All silent auction items are viewable at charlie2023.givesmart.com. Moreover, guests who make a monetary or pet food donation upon entry have a chance to win services worth $250 from Rich’s Auto Center.

This heartfelt event is organized by Humane Fort Wayne, Rich’s Auto Center, and pantry volunteers, including Rich’s former owner, Cindy Elzey. Nick Brown, the current owner of Rich’s Auto Center, is thrilled to host this beloved community event once more, supporting a noble cause. For Brown, this event resonates deeply, being a community pillar and animal lover; he has adopted 2 dogs from local shelters.

No RSVP is necessary to join the party. If you’re unable to attend, the silent auction offers a wonderful opportunity to support the cause. Additionally, Rich’s Auto Center is accepting pet food donations leading up to the event.

For more event details, contact Rich’s Auto Center at 260-747-8145 or Humane Fort Wayne at 260-207-4187. Stay updated by joining the event on Facebook at facebook.com/events/687852553206204.

Originating 13 years ago by a group of volunteers as the Fort Wayne Pet food Pantry, The Humane Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry provides complimentary pet food to those in need to: 1. Reduce the number of animals that are taken to the shelter. 2. Reduce the number of animals that are euthanized due to overcrowded shelters. 3. Preserve the loving relationship that pet owners share with their pets. 4. Relieve people of the emotional stress of not being able to provide for their pets.

When the Pantry was founded in 2010, economic reasons made up 25% of the pet surrenders to local shelters, by 2020, less than 2% were surrendered because the owner couldn’t buy food. More info and a pet food distribution schedule can be found at www.humanefw.org/programs/pet-food-pantry.

The Waynedale News Staff
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