Central Smith’s Paws For A Cause drive aims to support local animal rescue organizations

·4 min read

Central Smith Creamery is continuing its mission to give back to the community with its latest initiative — a drive collecting much-needed items for four local animal rescue organizations led by a newly formed team of employees committed to community engagement.

The inaugural drive, dubbed Paws For A Cause, was launched last week by the company, located on Lakefield Road just north of the city in Selwyn Township, and runs until April 14.

As part of the initiative, Central Smith Creamery isn’t asking for monetary donations — they’re encouraging community members to donate textile items, including towels (body, beach, hand and face), blankets, flannel bed sheets and small fitted crib sheets as they clean out their closets during spring cleaning.

The donations will be evenly distributed to the Lakefield Animal Welfare Society, the Peterborough Humane Society, the Kawartha Wildlife Centre and the Animal Rescue Krew.

The first event, fresh off the heels of the Lindsay Road company’s annual holiday Fill the Truck food drive, is being spearheaded by Central Smith Creamery’s Green Team, a seven-member collective formed in November and led by chair Steve Paul, the business’ logistics manager who has had a long-held passion for animals.

“We created the team, which is a collection of employees from production, shipping, sales, operations, and our mission is to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable,” Paul told The Examiner.

“Our goal for this year is to look at ways we can make an impact within our facility across all our different streams, whether it be waste, recycling, different forms of packaging opportunities,” he said.

After forming late last year, Paul said the group — which meets monthly, often using their personal time to contribute to the collective’s vision — started brainstorming ways to create a greener, more sustainable company while fostering community awareness, engagement and an overarching mission to give back to the Peterborough area.

“I have a passion for animals, nature and wildlife. We talked about the term ‘upcycling,’ where you can donate to someone else and they can get some extended life out (of the items) where you wouldn’t necessarily need it yourself, So we asked ourselves what could we do? What could we do that’s different? Who is currently in need?

Paul, who has volunteered with local animal rescue networks in the past — even organizing a pet good drive while attending Fleming College in 2012 — and the Green Team decided to support the four area animal rescue groups.

“So we reached out to all the organizations and came up with the list (of items),” Paul explained.

Paul said the first Paws For A Cause drive is the Central Smith Green Team’s way of “paying it forward” after the Selwyn Township community’s dedication to supporting community-based collectives and non-profit organizations — in a unique way.

“One of the reasons I love something like this is because it’s free. I’m not asking people for money … This is a way for people who love animals who are doing some spring cleaning to support these organizations,” Paul said“ I’m not asking people to go out and buy anything. So, it’s all free and it’s all going to these organizations which do a lot for the community and I’m super excited to do this.”

Donations can be dropped off at Central Smith Creamery at 739 Lindsay Rd. There is a bin in the lobby and another inside the building.

So far, two 55-gallon drums have already been filled to the brim.

In mid-April, when the drive comes to an end, the items will be divided up to each organization, all of which regularly cite the sheets and blankets on their “wish lists.” The towels will be used to clean up, while the blankets and sheets are used to line cages and keep animals warm. Flannel is particularly warm and good for everyday wear and tear.

Paul said he hopes to make the inaugural Paws For a Cause an annual event, the first of many initiatives he plans to establish through Central Smith’s new Green Team. Next on the books? The group plans to participate in a cleanup in Selwyn Township on Earth Day.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner