Local farmer donates bales of straw to keep pets warm
(11/27/2018) - Pets are feeling the chilly temperatures, and one local organization is working as fast as they can to provide warmth to our furry friends.
Helping Orphaned Pets through Education volunteers packed bags of straw Tuesday night to help pets have the little bit of warmth from the snowy ground.
They got a big surprise from a nearby farmer.
Toni Oliver, a dairy farmer out of Lapeer County, knows pets can't handle these cold temperatures. That's why she's donated dozens of bales of straw to volunteers at HOPE in Flint.
"The temperature out at night you know, would you want to lay out on your front porch,” Oliver said.
The donation makes a big difference for the volunteers.
"I want to say speechless. You know it just makes my heart smile,” HOPE Founding Secretary Holly Bradford said.
She and volunteers dedicate three days a week to pack garbage bags full of straw.
"The straw acts like an insulator. If people come to get the bag of straw, they can insulate the dog house and stack it up and put it all around the sides,” Bradford said.
They started this mission last year. When Bradford saw the need here in Genesee County, she picked it back up again this November.
She said they've already given away the same number of bags of straw in less than in month than they did the entire season last year.
"The end game is that we won't ever have to do this, so people will see them as family members and bring them inside," Bradford said.
Once packed the bags of straw sit on the side of the road for anyone to pick up. However, they have a message for people who pick them up.
Take only what you need," Bradford said. "We will be keeping this stocked, for you and others to return for more."
She cautioned anyone who takes straw not to add blankets if the straw gets wet because that can cause it to freeze and potentially harm pets.
These volunteers were able to pack several dozen garbage bags.
Bradford says more than likely that won't last until morning.