Fair Convenience spearheads local Betty White Challenge
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
When actress Betty White passed away on December 31, just shy of celebrating her 100th birthday, the world lost not just an icon of stage and screen, but a devoted animal welfare advocate as well. In the days since her passing, a new trend has started to spread online, aptly titled the #BettyWhiteChallange. The premise is simple. People wishing to pay their respects for White and the work she was doing to advocate for animal welfare are encouraged to make donations to the animal welfare organization of their preference, on or before her birthday, January 17.
Here in Sioux Lookout, that cause has been taken up by local businesswoman Debora Young. As Young, Owner/Operator of Fair Convenience, explained, it was an easy decision to set up the fundraiser for Sioux Looks Out For Paws animal rescue, given that several of her animals came from local rescue organizations.
“I was scrolling on Facebook one day and I saw this Betty White Challenge,” recounts Young. “She was avid about supporting pet shelters and stuff like that and I thought ‘Man that’s an awesome idea!’… (White) didn’t make it to her 100th birthday, so what better way to celebrate her than with a donation to our local pet shelter. With there being three (shelters) in the area, that’s a lot of pull for donations and that makes it hard. So, I thought well, I’ll promote this, because people come into the store all the time and drop change, whatever. As soon as I saw it, I messaged the shelter and said I think this is an awesome idea.” I don’t have a lot of hours extra to donate…, so I help out in other ways.”
One of those ways was donating money from the sale of masks when the pandemic first hit. Young adds that through the sale of those masks they were able to donate almost $4000. That may seem like a lot, but as Young puts it, “That gets eaten up awful fast if an animal gets hurt.”
When asked what it was that resonated with her about this particular fundraiser, the answer comes easily. “I remember as a kid rushing home to watch the Golden Girls on TV, so I just thought this was an awesome idea. We are honouring her, and we’re putting the money where it’s needed. I asked my kids, my daughter Chelsea dabbles in the arts a bit, so I said make me a sign tied to the Betty White Challenge, to see what we could do. If I could get 100 dollars to celebrate her 100th birthday, awesome.
“I did that in the first day! I just put it up on Monday. I’m sitting at probably $180 now, in basically a day and a half.”
With Young’s initial post on the challenge being shared by area residents on Facebook, it looks like other businesses may also follow suite. Shari Turner, who works as cook and waitress at the Fifth Avenue Bar and Grill, liked what Young had set up and decided to do the same at the Fifth. As Turner explained, “I think this is nothing but a wonderful cause. And these days, we need something happy. This challenge is just what we need. There are so many needy animals out there.”
Individuals interested in contributing to the #BettyWhiteChallenge are encouraged to drop by Fair Convenience at 24 Fair Street. Money transfers can also be sent directly to Sioux Looks Out for Paws at firstname.lastname@example.org.