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Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary holds special event during Give BIG Green Bay online fundraiser

Posted at 10:48 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 12:10:56-05

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. — Give BIG Green Bay is just a week away. It's a 24-hour online giving event that's put on by the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Green Bay Packers Foundation. This year, they've chosen 40 nonprofits to receive donations. Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary in Ashwaubenon is one of the organizations that's competing for your dollars, and like many of the participating nonprofits, the Sanctuary has a special activity planned to encourage you to give.

"To be supported and to be picked again is just absolutely incredible," said Jess Danen, Community Engagement and Education Specialist at Happily Ever After Sanctuary.

At the facility, no dog or cat is put down.

"Our mission is that we're going to provide a loving home to every companion animal that enters our care with a lifetime guarantee, and we get that work done through our five pillars of adoption, education, spay-neuter, rehabilitation and lifetime care or sanctuary," explained Marcus Reitz, Director of Branding and Development.

Reitz's sister, Amanda, started Happily Ever After in 2006. It's a family affair that has now grown to include 170 volunteers that care for 200 animals everyday. Last year, the Sanctuary matched 480 cats and dogs with forever homes.

"To know that they're going to this family that's going to love them as much as you have, it means everything," explained Danen.

Reitz said without the help of generous donors, none of this would be possible.

"Whether it's their microchips or spay and neuter procedures, emergency medical care, just everything that it takes to make this happen is the result of our community pulling together."

Now, the community can rally behind the Sanctuary for a second year during Give BIG Green Bay. Last year was a huge success for the nonprofit.

"The financial impact to our organization was incredibly meaningful," explained Reitz. "The 24-hour period, inclusive of the match that the Green Bay Packers Foundation put forth, brought us just a shade over $30,000."

This year, they're hoping to top that by holding a special event during the online fundraiser called Share an Hour, Save a Life.

Reitz said, "Happily Ever After is going to be putting on a 24-hour snuggle fest, love fest, purr fest, whatever you want to call it, where individuals have a chance to come in and spend literally an hour up close and personal with our cats and dogs."

During that time, visitors are encouraged to take photos and videos with the animals and post them on social media using the the hashtags #HEA, #giveBIGgb and #giveBIGhea to encourage friends and family to donate.

"It's not all about the dollars and cents on that giving day. People that come to know Happily Ever After are going to become adopters, they're going to become volunteers and they might become foster parents. So in addition to the financial element, certainly awareness is a huge component of this day," Reitz said.

It's an important day of giving that will help the Sanctuary continue its mission of saving animals.

"Even though they can't say it in words, the gratitude that they feel and that we feel on their behalf is incredible," Danen said.

If you'd like to sign-up for the Sanctuary's Share an Hour, Save a Life event, click here to book your time slot.

The Give BIG Green Bay 24-hour crowdfunding event starts at noon on February 20th and runs until noon February 21st. Click here to see a list of participating organizations.

NBC26 is proud to be a sponsor of this year's event.