Betty White fans honor actress with thousands in donations to South Shore animal shelters

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SCITUATE – Deb Bartlett is a regular supporter of Scituate Animal Shelter, but someone in particular inspired her to stop in Monday with a donation for the nonprofit: the late Betty White.

On Monday – what would have been White's 100th birthday – fans of the beloved actress stepped up to donate to their local animal welfare charities and shelters as part of what was dubbed the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

"I'm a Betty White fan, a huge animal lover, and I have a lot of respect for what she's done for animals," said Bartlett, of Scituate.

As Daisy, center, looks on, Deb Bartlett, of Scituate, left, gives a money donation on behalf of her husband, Tom Bartlett, and their dog Nina to Scituate Animal Shelter operations assistant Lindsay Kimball, right, during the Betty White Challenge, in which donations were made to local animal shelters in honor of the late actress, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.
As Daisy, center, looks on, Deb Bartlett, of Scituate, left, gives a money donation on behalf of her husband, Tom Bartlett, and their dog Nina to Scituate Animal Shelter operations assistant Lindsay Kimball, right, during the Betty White Challenge, in which donations were made to local animal shelters in honor of the late actress, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

White was a tireless lifetime advocate for animals, from caring for those without homes to launching her own weekly TV show “The Pet Set" dedicated to her celebrity friends and their pets.

Animal welfare nonprofits across the country benefited from the viral tribute to the star of “The Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland."

Scituate Animal Shelter joined other shelters around the country in accepting donations as part of the Betty White Challenge, in which donations were made to local animal shelters in honor of the late actress, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.
Scituate Animal Shelter joined other shelters around the country in accepting donations as part of the Betty White Challenge, in which donations were made to local animal shelters in honor of the late actress, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

“I’ve had many conversations with Betty about animal welfare, and I know she’s looking down from heaven and really smiling,” said Robin Ganzert, who leads American Humane, an animal welfare organization that White was involved with for more than 60 years.

Lindsay Kimball, Scituate Animal Shelter's operations assistant, and volunteer Nancy Robertson opened the shelter to the public to accept donations. Supporters brought in cans of cat and dog food, laundry detergent, cat litter and other essentials.

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Kimball said the day focused on supporting animal organizations was helpful, especially due to COVID-19 and the impact it has had on nonprofits that have had to limit their face-to-face time with the public.

"With not being open to the public, the small donations we got when people came in to see the animals, we're not seeing those," she said.

Scituate Animal Shelter volunteer Nancy Robertson and Daisy look over the donations of pet food, detergent and supplies made to the shelter during the Betty White Challenge, in which donations were made to local animal shelters in honor of the late actress Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.
Scituate Animal Shelter volunteer Nancy Robertson and Daisy look over the donations of pet food, detergent and supplies made to the shelter during the Betty White Challenge, in which donations were made to local animal shelters in honor of the late actress Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Lisey Good, who serves on the Scituate Animal Shelter board of directors, said the Betty White Challenge was “hugely successful” for the organization, which raised more than $10,000 and collected many donations of supplies.

Tom Gilroy dropped off a donation to Scituate Animal Shelter on Monday.

"We always got a kick out of her," Gilroy, of Norwell, said of Betty White. "We've been hearing about the Betty White Challenge and we wanted to make a donation to show that we appreciate the good work they do here."

More: Betty White donated to this animal sanctuary for years, has baby donkey named after her

Emma Penti brought bedding to the shelter on Monday. While she didn't know about the Betty White Challenge ahead of time, Penti said she was a huge fan of the actress and the work she did for animals.

"She was such an amazing advocate who helped raise awareness for animals," Penti said.

Scituate Animal Shelter operations assistant Lindsay Kimball, right, greets Lilly Sullivan of Scituate, 10, left, and her sister, Anja Sullivan, 13, center, as they bring a donation of bedding to the shelter during the Betty White Challenge, in which donations were made to local animal shelters in honor of the late actress Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.
Scituate Animal Shelter operations assistant Lindsay Kimball, right, greets Lilly Sullivan of Scituate, 10, left, and her sister, Anja Sullivan, 13, center, as they bring a donation of bedding to the shelter during the Betty White Challenge, in which donations were made to local animal shelters in honor of the late actress Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Sandra Sines, president of the board of directors for the Quincy Animal Shelter, said the organization set out to raise $3,000 on Monday but raised more than triple that, $10,000. Money was still rolling in Tuesday morning.

"We were overwhelmed with how successful yesterday was. We were so happy and pleased with the support we received," Sines said. "Anyone who is an animal lover is a big fan of Betty White."

Sines said organizations from guinea pig rescues to wildlife rehabilitations benefited from the day of giving focused on animals of all sizes.

"It's really beautiful to see people wanting to show support and pay tribute to Betty," he said.

Kristen Clancy, president of South Shore Pet Food Pantry, said the organization received $1,400 on Monday alone, and $2,500 since the news broke of White’s death. In the first three weeks of January, the organization has raised nearly 30 percent of what it brought in during all of 2021.

“People have been really generous. It’s been phenomenal,” Clancy said. “Obviously (White’s) love of animals inspired people, and her birthday fell on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which I think always inspires people to do an act of kindness. The stars aligned.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Local animal shelters see spike in donations thanks to Betty White

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