Eileen Smulson, founder and president of Operations Blankets of Love found inspiration in a 4 month old female terrier-poodle mix wandering on a deserted highway.
When I was a kid, every Monday, my dad and I would read the “Thanks a Million” column in the New York Daily News. In the column, philanthropist Percy Ross responded to letters sent to him asking for money. This weekly ritual became a favorite time for me because I was enthralled by Mr. Ross’ motivation for helping people he didn’t know and giving away his money. I began telling my brother about the column and invited him to read it with us. Soon, we had other family members reading the column and sharing it with their friends.
What was most fascinating to me about Mr. Ross was that he chose not to give away money anonymously. He was very public about the fact that he was giving away money and who he was giving it to. He used his column not only to do good but to inspire others to do good as well. He reveled in his ability to help others.
Inspired by Mr. Ross’ generosity, we saved money to buy Christmas gifts for kids that were less fortunate. Although we didn’t realize it at the time, reading the column was not only a teachable moment for us, it helped us to understand the importance of helping those in need.
That’s the beauty of life—we never know how we will be inspired to “be the change”.
Ten years ago, Eileen Smulson, founder and president of Operation Blankets of Love found her inspiration in a 4 month old female terrier-poodle mix wandering on a deserted highway. Ginger was Eileen’s first pet. Their relationship blossomed as they took training classes, certified Ginger as a therapy partner and volunteered together at hospitals, nursing homes and schools. In early 2008, when Eileen learned the shelters had no money to purchase much-needed blankets and towels, she decided to take action.
“I couldn’t picture Ginger lying frightened and sad on a cold, hard, cement shelter floor. I wanted to make sure every homeless animal had warmth and comfort by having a blanket to snuggle in while they awaited adoption into a forever home.”
Eileen offered to collect these items for the shelter. Within six weeks, she collected 800 items. When she learned about animal rescues’ need for other comfort/care items (e.g., leashes/collars, carriers, crates), she established 20 drop-off locations and collected over 3,000 more items in several months. Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL)was born. In 2009 the organization became an animal welfare and emergency relief non profit and later added HELP (Humane Education Learning Program).
Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL) is dedicated to ending animal homelessness by providing aid and comfort items to 1,000 homeless animals a month. OBOL’s constituency consists of stray, sick, neglected and abused animals and the shelters, rescues, fosters and pets of the homeless.
Operation Blankets of Love is one of last year’s recipients of the Toyota’s national philanthropic program 100 Cars for Good. The program which runs from October 1, 2013 to November 19, 2013, gives you the power to decide which of the five organizations to support. Over the course of 50 days, Toyota will be giving 100 cars to 100 nonprofit organizations. By going to the Toyota’s 100 Cars For Good Facebook Page, you can help an organization make a difference in their community.
Throughout the program, you can vote twice a day (you’re on Facebook anyway!) for the organization of your choosing. The two organizations with the most votes at the end of the day are winners. Areas of service include, animal welfare and wildlife, disability, education, health and safety and services for children and adults.
Eileen Smulson shared with me how winning the car has helped Operation Blankets of Love. “Winning the 2013 Toyota Sienna Van has helped us get to more homeless animals a month and to pick up hundreds of more items from our 75 plus locations. Transportation is the heart and soul of what we do everyday. To date we have donated 1,000,000 items valued at over $3 million.”
The car also helps Eileen to drive to more then 20 pet expo events a year and to schools to educate students on how to be respectable and kind to homeless animals, thee importance of spay and neuter, and why adoption is the best option. Says Eileen, “Everyday it helps us to save more homeless animals lives!!”
From one small act of kindness, Eileen has been able to save many animals looking for a loving home.
How will you be inspired to do good?
Written in partnership with Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good.
This post is sponsored by Toyota’s philanthropy program 100 Cars for Good. Starting October 1 and ending November 19, do your own good deed by voting for your favorite organizations and causes on the 100 Cars for Good Facebook App.
Photos Courtesy of Operation Blankets of Love