Girl Scouts in Fremont found the purr-fect Christmas gift for the cats at the Catz Angles Rescue Effort shelter.
Last week, three of the girls in Troop 44645 presented 10 gift beds with homemade blankets, treats and a card for adopters to take home.
“We’re just very appreciative of their generosity and thinking about us during the holiday season,” CARE board treasurer Deana Vyhlidal said.
Fremont High School sophomores Kelley Lebahn, Victoria Godfrey, Emily Ayers and Grace Cruise made the beds as part of the Youth Philanthropy Contest.
The Youth Philanthropy Contest, run by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, provides funding for kids to create projects that will make an impact on the community.
CARE is a nonprofit organization that helps find homes for cats. Although it has around 15 cats at its shelter at 251 W. 5th St., CARE has around 150 cats in about 150 foster homes.
Troop leader Kelly Irvin, who has been involved with the program for three decades, said she has led the four girls since early elementary school. After asking the girls a few months ago if they wanted to do a philanthropy project for an organization, they ultimately decided on CARE.
“We were thinking about the stray cats that were affected in March when the floods happened, so we decided that we wanted to make cat gift boxes for them,” Lebahn said. “And we decided that the best organization that we could find was Catz Angels Rescue Effort.”
Although she had other scouts take part in the Youth Philanthropy Contest years ago, Irvin said this is the first time for these girls.
“We’re going to try to make 50, and if we still have money left from the philanthropy contest, then we’ll make as many as we can,” she said.
The scouts crafted the beds while camping in a cabin in Papillion together last weekend, where they “pretty much spent all night” working on them, Lebahn said.
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“We just watched them in their big circle on the floor, making the blankets, tying them,” Irvin said. “And then they had to sew the little mice, so that was fun.”
Godfrey said the scouts bought the material from a fabric store to make the blankets themselves, with the leftover fabric being used for the toy mice, which were filled with cotton and catnip.
“We got them cut and we cut the corners off like squares, and then we cut the sides in strips and we tied them all up,” she said. “And then that’s how the blankets are made.”
The blankets included in the beds will be helpful, as the cats will get used to them in the shelter, Vyhlidal said.
“Then when they get moved to a foster or to a permanent home when they get adopted, they can take that blanket with them,” she said. “It’ll have their smell and help them acclimate to their new home.”
Lebahn said she was proud of how the beds turned out and thought they were a perfect fit for the cats.
“Catz Angels Rescue Effort is incredible,” she said. “They’re doing a really great thing, and I’m glad that we have somewhere like this in Fremont.”
Irvin said she thought it was a good idea for not only the scouts, but for all young people, to think about others, especially during the holiday season.
“They’re thinking out of the box and they’re thinking to care for the animals and all the issues with the flood,” she said. This was just something small that we could do to possibly help get the cats adopted.”
For Vyhlidal, she said she was just amazed by the scouts’ contribution.
“I think it’s so heartwarming to see kids think about doing something like this for a nonprofit,” she said, “and we need more kids like this in the world that are looking to help others.”