Greta Willoughby, ARF founder, said she was thrilled the event went as well as it did.
“I’m just really grateful because it means people are aware of how important this is and that they care,” she said. “I’m so impressed that the people in the community came out and supported us.”
The money is going to pay off veterinary bills for cats and dogs that have been rescued and needed medical attention. Willoughby said if there are any funds left over, they will go toward getting an ARF van for animal transport.
ARF, which is supported 100 percent by donations, will continue to have fundraisers on a quarterly basis, said Willoughby.
Nearly 200 people came out to the Chow Down fundraiser at the Rome Civic Center, said Rome City Commissioner and ARF volunteer Sue Lee.
Michael Good, founder of the nationally known Homeless Pets Rescue, attended the Chow Down as well as Ginny Millner and Dale Wardlaw, founders of Fix Georgia Pets. Millner said Fix Georgia Pets functions as an umbrella for organizations like ARF in Georgia.
“I’m excited to be here and that people came out to support the cause,” said Millner.
“It’s a matter of safety for the community,” he added. “Last year, 300,000 animals were euthanized in Georgia.”
Considering that ARF began in August of 2011, the organization is off to a great start.
“I’m happy,” said Lee. “I mean, for the first time that we have done this, I’m very, very pleased.”
Tickets to the event were sold for $35 and Lee said $10 went toward paying for the food and $25 went right back into the ARF organization.
“We hope that we will have continued support,” Lee said.
Willoughby said she hoped the organization could have monthly donors who will support ARF, because without donations, it couldn’t exist.
“There are all kinds of things we need,” said Lee. “Maybe eventually we’ll get a van. But we’ll start with baby steps and then we go to giant steps, but hopefully we’ll get to those quickly.”
Overall, Lee and Willoughby said they couldn’t be happier with the outcome of ARF’s first fundraiser.
“I’m very happy, very pleased,” said Lee. “I’m happy that the community cares enough to look after the animals. We all love our dogs, but we need to also look after those dogs who are not loved.”