Doyle Robinson can’t remember the exact amount of years that Valerie Biggs has been volunteering for Sox Place but he does recall the exact chain of events and the network of people that brought her here.
Regardless of Doyle’s memory, three years ago Valerie recalls being introduced to Sox Place. A friend of hers had told her that Doyle would take all of her food donations and so she found her way down here to donate some extra food she had on hand. However, when she arrived she realized they needed more than just her food donations.
“I walked in and thought that Doyle was in desperate need of someone to help organize the food pantry and the donations that came in,” she said.
A once unorganized Sox Place was blessed by Valerie and her friend Michelle. “I felt like I couldn’t walk away from the project of straightening and organizing, and I really wanted to help make everything easier on Doyle and the staff on a regular basis,” said Valerie.
Doyle and Jordan were up to their ears with other concerns and didn’t have time to keep the pantry organized when new donations came flooding in. But Valerie stepped in and has made a big impact by volunteering regularly to organize.
“She knows why she’s here and she does what Jordan and I are not good at,” said Doyle. “To me volunteers should fill in the gaps and do the things that we aren’t great at or don’t have the time to spend on.”
Volunteering for Sox Place not only made a big difference in the effectiveness of operations and organization but it has also touched Valerie in a way that keeps bringing her back.
“Every time I go in to volunteer or I’m reading the Sox Place blog I am humbled and reminded how easily I could have been one of the kids at Sox Place. Although my husband and I have a great life together now, our adolescent experiences aren’t much different than those who receive services from Sox Place. It is an honor to give my assistance to everyone who walks through the doors,” she said.
Last Friday Sox Place was blessed by the presence of organizations, Favor’s Project and For the Love of Paws Rescue, who ended up making a difference in the lives of street kids and their pets. By the end of the day Twenty-two pets received vaccinations, deworming, and treatment for fleas and ticks and a check up provided by Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Barin. Dog baths were provided by Chuck and Don’s Pet store from Lakewood and there was additional help from DMK rehoming and The San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society.
The teams of volunteers unpacked their vehicles full of boxes containing mass amounts of dog food, leashes, collars, and doggy treats. For the Love of Paws provided all the vaccines that would be given to the dogs and one very brave cat.
“If these kids went to a vet and asked for vacs, this is everything that they would get,” said Jenn with For the Love of Paws.
The doors opened at noon, but many of the kids began gathering in the back, dogs in hand, as early as 9:00 a.m. waiting for the green light to grab food and sign their loyal companions up for a day of care.
Nancy from San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society met each dog and owner, getting them on the waiting list to get in to see the doc.
Many of these dogs are on the road, or haven’t had the vaccines they need due to the lack of education and cost, leaving their pets vulnerable for infection and disease. The volunteers were a beacon of hope in the lives of these homeless pet owners by providing 100% free love and care.
Dogs are very common for street kids to have. As a pet owner myself, I understand that a dog or cat is not just a furry face, they become family members. Dogs are a fountain of unconditional love and loyalty when treated well, and many of these kids have never experienced that kind of treatment from the families they were born into, so it’s no surprise that dogs are so common among the homeless youth.
Records and documentation of the updated treatment for the pets were kept and handed out to each one of their owners. All the volunteers were so well informed and answered a lot of questions that these kids had about proper treatment.
There’s no doubt the genuine love and compassion that all the volunteers felt for both our street kids and their pets.