Tin for the Critter Bin campaign overflows with kindness
A pet themed-fundraising initiative that has just completed its second year has gone from strength to strength.
Throughout October, the Tin for the Critter Bin campaign was once again spearheaded by Sue Zuk-Boyer, her husband Dana and their son Reid.
In the last two years, Tin for the Critter Bin has been supported by a number of pet stores in the province, and also has the support of a number of individuals with RCMP connections.
The initiative was held in honour of Ethan Boyer, who was passionate about animals. Ethan was killed in a collision on the south Perimeter Highway near Brady Road in October 2019. He was 19.
During the recent campaign, visitors to several pet stores were invited to make donations of cat and dog food. Participating stores included two southeast Winnipeg Pet Valu locations — in St. Boniface at 27 Marion St. and in Southdale at 35 Lakewood Blvd. — as well as Fluffy’s Pet Grocery in Teulon and Quarry Pets in Stonewall. Financial donations were also gratefully accepted. The St. Boniface and Southdale Pet Valu locations are owned by Tracey Johnson, Jill Gillespie owns Fluffy’s Pet Grocery, and Nicole Nagy owns Quarry Pets.
Speaking after Tin for the Critter had wrapped up for another, Zuk-Boyer said her family is grateful for the support it once received from the community, and noted the fundraiser was even more successful than last year, even though the price of cat and dog food has gone up. She believes word of mouth played a part in spreading the word and keeping the momentum going throughout the month, which in turn, meant more than 10 organizations and shelters benefited.
“It feels great,” Zuk-Boyer said. “It was nice to spread the wealth, and for this to reach as far as Brandon was awesome. Of course, some of the rescues are more popular and well-known than others, but it was heart-warming to be able to show our support.”
Once again this year, Zuk-Boyer and her family collected and dropped off food and suppliers to pet rescues during the campaign, but this time focused more on delivering the stash more fluidly, rather than leaving the majority of deliveries until the end of the month.
“That was a bit different this year. Instead of stockpiling everything in our garage, we tended to do the pickups and drop-offs in real time, which helped,” she said.
“We want to thank everyone who supported us – our friends, family, the pet store owners who took part, and all of the people that donated items such as blankets, toys, and food. We’re grateful from the bottom of our hearts, and we wish we could give everyone a big Ethan hug.”
Another significant contributor and campaign supporter is Const. Shaylin Fenton — a former member of Headingley RCMP Traffic Services who was the first police officer on-scene of Ethan’s collision — and RCMP D-Division in Winnipeg. This year, Fenton’s efforts totalled a $3,800 contribution to the cause.
Zuk-Boyer’s husband, Dana, said the family is keen to acknowledge Fenton’s involvement and contribution.
“Constable Fenton was first on the scene at Ethan’s crash,” Dana said. “She was at the crash site when Sue arrived and found out the horrible news. She was also at the hospital when we went to say goodbye to Ethan later that day. Even though she was transferring to Alberta in mid-November of 2019, Shaylin and the Headingley Traffic Detachment donated a huge truck load of critter food for Ethan’s service.”
“Every year since, Shaylin organizes an online fundraiser and the funds are used to purchase more pet food from our supporting stores. Her efforts this year allowed us to help even more critters. We have not seen Shaylin since November 2019, but we stay in touch via social media year-round. She is yet another beautiful soul that has helped us get through the dark times with her angel on earth light helping guide us forward.”
Dana is also grateful for the support of Pet Valu store owner Tracey Johnson: “Tracey had draws for cat and dog owners at both locations. We drew the winners’ names on November 1, and Tracey contacted the winners. Tracey donated these prizes. She is such a generous and beautiful lady. I cannot speak highly enough about Tracey and her staff and their customers. Amazing people.”
Dana said his family made 11 deliveries to nine organizations last month. These include Penny’s All Breed Animal Rescue (two deliveries); Grateful Friends (two deliveries); Manitoba Mutts; Spirit of Hope Animal Rescue; Rescue Siamese Cat Shelter; K9 Advocates; Before the Bridge Senior K9 Rescue; Winnipeg Humane Society; and Funds for Furry Friends.
The family also received monetary donations made to the Ethan Boyer Memorial Fund, run by the Interlake Community Foundation.
Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at email@example.com or call him at 204-697-7111.