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SPCA Celebrates 5000+ Volunteers During National Volunteer Week

2020 SPCA Purina Volunteer Award winners announced

When New Zealand went into Lockdown on March 26, a special band of SPCA volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got to work to help vulnerable animals. During Alert Level 4 and 3 Lockdown, 2,527 SPCA animals went to volunteer foster homes across the country, cared for by dedicated Kiwi families who wanted to make a difference.

Research shows that animal welfare outcomes are better when animals are in foster care rather than animal shelters, so the selfless families who put their hand up to care for an animal during lockdown, can now be celebrated.

To mark the beginning of National Volunteer Week (June 21-27, 2020), the winners of the 2020 SPCA Purina Volunteer Awards have been announced. The awards celebrate the efforts of thousands of Kiwis who volunteer their time, talent and energy to SPCA and who better the lives of animals.

With more than 10 volunteers to every 1 staff member, SPCA’s thousands of volunteers have been described by Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO as “the lifeblood of our organisation”.

“2020 has challenged SPCA in ways we never imagined. But we have been blown away by the commitment and steadfast reliability of our dedicated volunteers, even in the most difficult of times,” she says.

While SPCA volunteers weren’t allowed to come to their local centres during the lockdown for their shifts, many stepped up and fostered animals at their homes.

The awards recognise the contribution made by volunteers at SPCA’s 38 Centres and 56 SPCA Op Shops across New Zealand. Volunteers help with every aspect of SPCA’s work – from cleaning and feeding animals, to helping with administration and fundraising. Our Op Shop volunteers receive, clean and merchandise donated goods to help raise vital funds.

More than 170 nominations were received from SPCA staff and volunteers for this year’s Awards, and judged by SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen, and Jennifer Chappell, General Manager, Purina Petcare.

Six award categories put a spotlight on the different ways volunteers contribute to the SPCA. The 2020 winners are:

  • Best Volunteer Team – Joss Grieve and Helen Welsh of Christchurch
  • Fantastic Foster Family – Tracey, Dave, and Tanesha Thompson of Waipukurau
  • Going the Extra Mile Award – David Orr of Nelson
  • Best Op Shop Team – SPCA Second Chance Op Shop in Kamo
  • Most Devoted Volunteer – Karen Sanson of Hamilton
  • Outstanding Young Volunteer – Kerenapu Winiata-Katting of Rotorua

Ms Midgen says SPCA simply could not function without the loyal contribution of a national network of volunteers, and partners such as Purina, who have sponsored these awards since 2016 and who ensure that all SPCA’s cats and dogs nationwide are well fed with PURINA ONE.

Jennifer Chappell, General Manager Purina, says the company is proud to be sponsoring the awards again this year and to be able to help recognise some of the most generous and selfless people in New Zealand.

“This year’s winners are unwavering in their dedication to animals, not only during the recent challenging situation, but in the biggest and smallest of ways, all year round. Purina is delighted to partner with SPCA once again, celebrate these special people and reward their incredible service,” says Chappell.

The winners receive a years’ supply of PURINA ONE pet food for their pet, and a Nestlé food hamper to the value of $300.

To learn more about volunteering at SPCA, visit www.spca.nz/how-you-can-help/volunteer

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