Area girl scouts donate, help save dog rescue

This spring, Hopewell Girl Scout Troop 70129 fulfilled their Bronze Service Award by making and donating ‘tug toys’, and collecting dog food and other supplies for Southern Comfort Rescue (SoCo), a nonprofit that benefits dogs in need of permanent homes.

For almost 10 years, SoCo has been bringing abused, neglected, and homeless dogs from rural Georgia to New Jersey, where they are adopted into loving, forever homes. Driving a large bus outfitted with more than two dozen crates, volunteer and founder Scott Bennett makes the 1,700 mile round trip “Freedom Ride” every month to connect area dog-lovers with pups in need. The adoption events take place in Mercer County and SoCo now has thousands of alumni, adopters, volunteers, and supporters. 

Troop co-leaders Christy Stier and Lisa Springer worked with the 5th grade scouts to collect and upcycle old t-shirts, braiding them into more than 250 dog toys. The group also led a donation drive to collect hundreds of pounds of dog food, supplies, and treats. Each girl committed roughly 20 hours of volunteer time. The effort culminated at an adoption event where the girls met the dogs and dropped off their donations.

“These girls have such big hearts — it was wonderful for them to meet Scott and see the dogs,” said Stier, a self-proclaimed dog-lover. The troop selected SoCo, in part, because Stier herself has so many friends who have adopted through SoCo. “We appreciate the generosity of our neighbors in donating to our effort, and we are so proud of our girls,” she said.

“We could not do our work without help from this kind-hearted community, said Bennett. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!”

That help is needed now more than ever. The rented kennel property in Wheeler County Georgia, which houses dogs until they have been rehabilitated and vetted before coming to New Jersey, is being sold. Volunteers have launched a capital campaign dubbed Rescue Our Rescue, to raise $100,000 towards the cost by October. A grant from the Atlanta Humane Society will help to cover some of the necessary renovations. A generous commitment from the King Family Foundation will match all donations during the month of May.

Submitted by SoCo Rescue, which operates without government funding using income only through modest adoption fees and donations. To donate, get involved or learn more about adopting a dog, go to www.socorescue.com. To donate go to: Paypal: SoCoRescue8@gmail.com; Checks: Mail to Southern Comfort Animal Rescue, 1484 N. Highway 19, Glenwood, GA 30428, Venmo: @SoCo-Rescue (Scott Bennett, 4 Digit Code 0145); Follow SoCo Rescue on Facebook or #socorescue2001 Instagram. 

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