Notes From the Janery Studio

Giving Back

  • How to Best Help Pets in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

    My heart has been aching as the news shares the destruction of Hurricane Harvey and his floods.  I'm especially terrified for the pets who are chained in backyards and kennels, as they have literally no chance of surviving. But there are plenty of responsibly-owned pets at risk as well.

    Today I wanted to share that Janery is donating all profits from sales (today through Sunday, 9/3/17) to help animals affected by Hurricane Harvey.  

    But there's more important info to share as well:

    When a natural disaster hits, pets are often in as much danger - if not more danger - as people.  Here’s how you can help the animals affected by Hurricane Harvey.

    After the floods have receded, there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of more displaced and homeless pets flooding the shelters.  When people flee, pets are often left behind.  I can’t fathom ever doing that, but I’ve thankfully never been in that situation. During Hurricane Katrina, for example, emergency shelters wouldn’t accept pets.  

    What should you donate? 

    1. Money of any amount is the most valuable donation you can make to a rescue group, especially when weather conditions can’t guarantee mail delivery. Money will buy exactly what they need.  
    2. Digital gift cards.
    3. Physical items can help, but keep in mind that shelters often run out of space.  like leashes, crates, food, bedding, etc can be helpful - but be sure to check the rescue group’s specific “wish list” before sending items. During emergencies, organizations often run out of storage space due to physical item donations of well-meaning people. 

    Hurricane Harvey Dog Evacuation by Jonathan Bachman

    Photo credit: Jonathan Bachman

    Where should you donate?*  

    I researched a lot of options before coming up with this list.

    Houston Humane Society - This well-rated, local organization is working in the eye of the storm. Literally.  Their need for help will continue far past the week of the storm.

    Austin Pets Alive!  - This Austin, TX nonprofit is taking a lot of the dogs rescued from the hurricane.

    Dallas DogRRR - This group is 100% volunteer-run, meaning all donations go straight to helping animals. They’re actively helping to rescue dozens of animals outside Houston who were flooded when a Houston dam was opened on Monday.  

    Wings of Rescue - Volunteer pilots are flying hundreds of dogs out of flood-ravaged Texas and Louisiana.  This is an amazing, new-to-me organization that I'm happy to support.

    Lost Dog Rescue Foundation - Local to me in Northern Virginia, this small but mighty organization is partnering with Austin Pets Alive! to take pets from Texas.  

    The Humane Society of the United States - This is a reputable national charity, though it has lower financial ratings than Houston Humane.  They have been working with local animal rescues in the Houston area since before the hurricane hit, trying to get ahead of the situation.

    You can help people, too:

    Not all charities are created equal.  Some manage their money better than others, and Charity Navigator does a good job of rating them.  They have a page with guidance about helping people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

    Houston Food Bank

    Charity Navigator’s Hurricane Harvey Recommendations

    Non-financial donations:

    If you can’t contribute financially, but still want to do something - check with your local animal rescue organizations. They may be planning to help relieve the load on Houston-area shelters by transporting some shelter pets to your home state.   

    • Open your home and foster a cat or dog temporarily.
    • Donate food, supplies, crates, and other items like used bedding and towels.
    • Volunteer to walk dogs in shelters to keep them socialized?
    • If you’re a photographer, offer to photograph the pets - with social media, there is power in a great photo.

    And finally:

    Yesterday a few heartbreaking images spread like wildfire on social media.  Dogs and cats were trapped in flooded kennels at a remote rescue 60 miles northeast of Houston.   I saw conflicting information about who to donate to, so I took time this morning to try and track down the chain of command.

    The dogs appear to be housed 60 miles northeast of Houston in the Tall Tails Rescue kennels.  Dallas DogRRR and New York’s Second Chance Rescue appear to be partners of Tall Tails.  Both Dallas and NY are looking for foster families.  

    What We’re Doing:

    Janery Hurricane Harvey Pet Rescue Donations

    Janery is donating all profits (from sales made now through Sunday 9/3/2017) to the animal rescue organizations listed above.

    After that date, we’ll be working to implement a longer term, more sustainable strategy to continue to help all the pets affected.

    How to Best Help Pets in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

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  • 9 Ways to Help the Homeless This Winter

    Janery 9 ways to help the homeless this winter

    Last week, as my family and I drove home from a wonderful Christmas trip with family, food, and an embarrassing number of gifts, I spied some tents in the woods that lined a New Jersey highway. It reminded me that not everyone was as fortunate, and that some spent a cold and lonely Christmas in tents or shelters.  

    Winter is an especially hard time for the homeless, with harsh weather conditions and overcrowded shelters.  Many homeless choose to tough it out on streets because shelters are also a source of bedbugs, crime, and other problems.  No matter what your budget is, here are 9 ways you can help the homeless this winter:

    1. Cleaning out your closet?  Winter clothes are in high demand at this time of year, for both children and adults.  Coats, hats, scarves, gloves, sweaters, thick socks, shoes, and thermal underwear.   Also, consider donating old blankets.
    2. If you’re shopping at a discount store such as Walmart or Costco, consider adding a few packs of underwear, socks, or feminine products to your cart.  These items are often overlooked but in high demand at shelters.
    3. Create care packages:  Fill old backpacks or reusable shopping bags with bottled water, nonperishable food, instant hand warmers, emergency blankets and a pack of baby wipes. Contact your local outreach center for business cards, and include one in each care package.  These care packages can be kept in your car and handed out to anyone in need.  The business card helps them contact the shelter for greater assistance.
    4. Have leftover party food?  Contact your local shelters to see if they can use it for their guests.
    5. Clear bathroom clutter:   Many shelters collect hotel toiletries and old towels for their guests to use.
    6. Share your expertise:  
      1. Business knowledge: If you have knowledge in a business-related field such as legal, accounting, or marketing, donate your time to help a nonprofit with business infrastructure.  
      2. Mechanical knowledge: If you’re a mechanic, see if your shelter has guests who need minor car repairs.  Many times a car is the only home they have left, and is keeping them employed.
      3. Educational knowledge: If you’ve got book smarts, volunteer to tutor children in shelters, or adults who are getting their GED.
    7. If you’re part of a hobby group - such as a book club – sign up to make (or buy) and serve a meal at a shelter or food kitchen.
    8. Shop for a cause:  Through Amazon Smile you can designate a charity to receive a donation for every qualified purchase you make on Amazon.  It doesn’t cost you a thing!
    9. Be kind.  When you pass a homeless person sitting on the street, smile and say hello, and ask their name.  It’s a simple gesture that shows someone they are still human, and not invisible.

    Homeless Need Compassion

    Each one of us has the power to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than us.  Part of Janery’s mission is giving back, specifically to organizations helping change the lives of homeless people and pets.  I’ll be writing my donation check for 2016 this month, but I’ll also continue to personally implement as many of these ideas as I can.

    Have more ideas for how to help the homeless? I’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Instagram.  


    If Janery's mission speaks to you, join me in the Janery VIP Club for monthly updates.  

    Photo sources, top to bottom: 1 / 2 / 3 


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  • Janery & Community: Why I believe in giving back

    From the earliest days of Janery, giving back to the community has been an important part of what I do.  It's also my favorite part.

    This week I donated 5% of my 2015 profits to an organization helping homeless people - The Lamb Center, and one that helps homeless animals - Richmond Boxer Rescue.

    I've rescued at least 13 pets since college, starting with my first cat, Blossom:

    Janery First Rescue Cat Blossom

    Many were strays that I fostered before rehoming with the help of rescue organizations, so giving back to groups that help animals is second nature to me.

    Supporting a group that truly helps homeless people transition to employment & housing is also very important to me, because of an eye-opening experience I had in college. 

    I believe that all businesses should give back to their communities. Caffe Amouri, an artisan coffee roaster in my town, really inspires me in this way.  The owner says that as long as he helps his community, he considers his business successful.

    I couldn't agree more.

    Thank you for helping me make a difference in the lives of people and animals.
    5% of all Janery profits from my dog beds, cat beds, and home accessories will continue to go to pet rescue and homeless outreach groups.  If you'd like to nominate a pet rescue organization for Janery to partner with in the future, please let me know. 

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  • Giving Back: Why Janery Supports Homeless Outreach

    Each year I donate a portion of sales from Janery to programs for homeless people and pets.

    As the parent to four previously-homeless pets, it’s fairly obvious why I support animal rescue. But the reasons for my support of programs for the homeless may surprise you.

    When I was in college, my view of homelessness changed overnight.  One cold winter night, my friend got a phone call to alert him that his aunt had died.  It wasn’t a peaceful death; her body was found in an icy stream in Washington DC’s Rock Creek Park.

    His aunt had struggled with schizophrenia and manic depression for most of her adult life.  She had trouble holding down jobs due to her mental illness, and when she was unemployed she had no access to affordable medication.  Prior to her death, she had gone off her medications and became homeless in Washington DC.

    It pained my friend to know that he’d only found out about her suffering when it was too late.

    I was 21 at the time, and her death made a strong impression on me. Before then I hadn’t realized that:

    • 60,000 of our veterans – the people who voluntarily served our country – are homeless
    • At least 25% of the homeless population has a mental illness or disorder
    • 28% of homeless families have fled domestic violence
    • Many struggle with addiction, which is an illness requiring real treatment

      This is why, in addition to helping animal rescue groups, Janery will continue to donate a portion of sales to programs for the homeless.  Everyone deserves a safe place to call home.  To find that, the homeless usually need resources, counseling, and most of all – for people to believe in them.

      I’m currently donating to a local organization:  The Lamb Center.  It is a small but powerful daytime center only 10 minutes from my home.

      The Lamb Center serves the homeless population by providing a warm, safe place for them to drop into if they choose, and it’s staffed by a wonderful group of volunteers from local churches.  Additionally, The Lamb Center provides an extensive group of services to help guests get back on their feet:

      A note about the shelter’s religious affiliation:  I don’t often donate to faith-based groups, but I feel the Lamb Center is one of the most ethical and fiscally responsible organizations in the area.   At The Lamb Center, services are available to anyone, regardless of participation in their bible study and worship meetings.


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