Age was never a barrier to two young sisters, Lily and Abigail Mullins, when it came to coming up with a great idea to raise money for the Ruskin Moose Lodge’s charity event last month.
Both girls are avid animal lovers, so they naturally turned toward a way to raise money for lost and abandoned animals as their cause.
With plush, stuffed animals secured for them by Moose member Wendy Kitson, Lily and Abby set to work in their grandmother’s home workshop (“Mimi’s Art Room”) to create adorable, irresistible adoptable pets for their intended customers.
“We used glitter, ribbons, jewels and fabrics to decorate the animals,” said their grandmother, Kim Mullins. “The glue gun at my house was going night and day, and I have the scar to prove it,” she said, laughing while showing off a burn mark on her thumb.
The result was a host of personalized, endearing pets for people to fall in love with and purchase, complete with individualized adoption papers.
Working in conjunction with the Women of the Moose, Lily and Abigail managed to sell scores of cuddly pets, raising $500 to be donated to the C.A.R.E animal rescue shelter in Ruskin.
“They know about the purpose of C.A.R.E.,” said Mullins. “They’ve been raised in a home where animals are rescued and cared for, and they know what it’s all about.”
Their mother, Amber Mullins, agreed. “I’ve seen Lily rescue all kinds of animals around our neighborhood, including birds, dogs, cats, frogs, turtles and tadpoles,” she said. “She just has a natural love for animals.”
“I once helped Mimi get a dog out of the ditch that was hurt,” said Lily, describing how the animal was given to a professional in animal medicine to nurse it back to health. Though she’s only 6 years old, Lily already has a future career in mind. “I want to help animals when I grow up,” she said.
Moose member Kathy Tsymbal, an advocate for the ASPCA, hopes to foster Lily’s aptitude for animal rescue by becoming her mentor. She plans to take Lily on an educational visit to the C.A.R.E. facility in Ruskin, where she can experience firsthand the procedures and professional care of rescued animals.
Tsymbal has been a recognized longtime leader in various animal protection programs, donating her time, money and personal resources to local and national causes benefiting animals.
Dogs and cats come to C.A.R.E. either as strays or after being abused or abandoned by their former owners. C.A.R.E gives them an opportunity for a happy and healthy life by finding responsible and caring families to adopt them.
Lily’s mother, Amber, who is currently attending the University of South Florida to earn a master’s degree in social work, said she is grateful for the opportunity for her daughter to learn more about animal rescue.
“She definitely has the desire for this, as well as a compassionate soul. She even builds homeless shelters for people and pets in our yard. She’s always on the look-out for others in need.”
The Ruskin Moose Lodge conducts monthly fundraisers benefiting local causes and events, including the Veterans Day parade, Alzheimer’s Walk, Susan J. Komen Walk, Wreaths across America, and numerous Christmas and holiday events.
Part of the national organization of Moose Lodges, the Ruskin post donates to Mooseheart, a 1,000-acre community and school near Chicago for children and teens in need, providing quality education, vocational training and compassionate support to youth at risk.
The post also offers comfort and peace of mind to senior members and their spouses at Moosehaven, a retirement community in Orange Park, Fla., where residents can enjoy fun activities and camaraderie in a supportive environment.
With more than one million men and women members nationwide, the Moose organization donates to many worthwhile national charities, including Special Olympics, Salvation Army, Safe Surfin’ USA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and St. Jude Hospital.
The Ruskin Moose Lodge on Shell Point Road offers an array of activities, including holiday parties, dances, sports events, themed dinners and live entertainment. For more information on the Ruskin Moose Lodge 813, call Craig Kitson at 813-645-5919 or visit the national website at www.mooseintl.org.