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Fund-raiser today to benefit Noah's Ark

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

In an effort to provide much-needed help to Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center and Children's Care Home in Locust Grove, the Divas group of McDonough will hold a yard sale today, from 8 a.m., to 2 p.m., at the Simeon Place subdivision on Ga. Highway 20.

Doris English, is a member of the Divas, which includes six friends who first met at the Heritage Senior Center in McDonough. English said the group's activities began with weekly card games, but have grown into an effort to assist non-profit outlets in the county.

"We decided instead of having presents at birthday parties, we'd set up a charity fund," she said. "We wanted to donate to Noah's Ark, because they don't get grants or government funding to care for their animals. We're all animal lovers, so we wanted to do something to contribute."

English said economic conditions in the country have a negative impact on people's abilities to give money to charity, making 2008 the "perfect year" to initiate the fund-raiser.

She added that the event will be "fun" for organizers and attendees. "The Divas are going to wear tiaras, and we're going to have furniture, kitchen items and jewelry to sell," she said. "We will also be selling raffle tickets for dinner at Season's Bistro in McDonough."

Diane Smith, the assistant to Noah's Ark Director Jama Hedgecoth, commended the Divas for their willingness to generate funds for the shelter. "This is such a great example of ways in which the local community comes to our aid, and these ladies even make it look like fun."

She noted that Noah's Ark, which has been at its current location since 1990, has had fewer donations made to the facility in recent months, compared with previous years. That downturn, said Smith, has caused "red flags" to go up for leaders at the shelter.

"We've had some days where we only get four donations, and they equal less than $100," she continued. "It sometimes comes down to a week-to-week basis as far as making payroll."

Smith said that donations of feed, hay and dog food from residents in the area have enabled the staff to continue to care for the animals. She added that she hopes others in the community will follow suit, regardless of how much they are able to give.

"People in the community always come through for us," said Smith. "We just want them to remember ... that no donation is too small. Some people think $5-10 doesn't make a difference, but it does."

For more information on the shelter, visit www.noahs-ark.org, or call Diane Smith at (770) 957-0888, ext. 227.