Each time Alisha Thomson and Carrie Emert see a dog or a cat leave Great Plains SPCA, get into a car and head to its new forever home, it is a special moment for them and all the workers at the two locations.
“It is amazing,” said Emert, director of special events for Great Plains SPCA. “It is the reason we go to work every day.”
Thomson, the senior director of development, said those moments never get old.
Great Plains SPCA formed in 2011 when Animal Haven and No More Homeless Pets KC merged. It has two locations: 21001 E. 78 Highway, Independence, and 5428 Antioch Drive, Merriam.
For a non-profit organization like Great Plains SPCA to thrive, help from the public is necessary.
So when Thomson received a call in June from Kristin Paxton, marketing director of Freedom Cycles Inc., in Grandview, she was excited to learn what Paxton was offering.
Paxton said the owners at Freedom Cycles Inc., wanted to do more to give back to the community. Paxton said many motorcycle riders and owners of power sport vehicles love dogs and cats.
From the conversations with Thomson emerged the first-ever “Rescue Ride and Cool Cat Cruise,” which is scheduled for Aug. 22. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The rescue rides are open to all motorcycles. The main starting point will be at noon at Advantage Powersports at 6401 NW Barry Road, Kansas City. There will be a couple of food trucks on hand. There will also be rescue rides at Freedom Cycles Inc.’s two other locations: Freedom Cycles at 12501 S. US Highway 71, Grandview, and Warrensburg Cycle, 1105 Stahl Dr., Warrensburg.
The destination is Great Plains SPCA’s Independence campus. There will be food trucks at the Independence campus plus a couple of bounce houses for children to play in.
The Cool Cat Cruise will start at 2 p.m. at Advantage Powersports and is open to all vehicles, ranging from semis to a daily drivers.
“With the Cool Cat Cruise, we wanted to do something savvy, fun and a little quirky,” Paxton said. “Leading the ride will be the Kansas City Blues Brothers One Night Stand Band. They are going to be leading the cruise with their Bluesmobile. That is going to be exciting.”
It is a $10 donation to register your vehicle for the rescue ride and the cruise. Go to hlspca.convio.net/site/Calendar?id=100621&view=Detail to register.“We will have a silent auction,” Paxton said.
“We have great vendors donating items for the silent auction. If anybody would like to donate something for the silent auction, they can contact Alisha or Carrie and drop it off at the location. Really, we would love to reach $5,000. That would be a goal that is realistic for our first year.
“Next year we would really like to make it much bigger. We would like to get multiple dealerships involved, not only the metric cycles but Harley (Davidson) and a lot of power sport dealers involved.”
Thomson’s phone number at Great Plains SPCA is 913-742-7346. Paxton said Great Plains SPCA is a great cause.
“This is one of the largest rescue shelters in Kansas City,” Paxton said. “We, at Advantage, are trying to do more non-profit, philanthropic events.”
In addition to the money raised for the Great Plains SPCA, the rescue ride and cat cruise bring more awareness to the non-profit organization.
“It is extremely important that groups like this one come to us and say, ‘We would like to learn more about you,’” Thomson said.
Since forming in 2011, Great Plains SPCA has grown significantly, Thomson said.
“Great Plains serves 35,000 pets,” Thomson said. “We have 12 different life-saving programs. We have tripled in size since 2011, and it is because the demand is there. We cannot keep up with the amount of need that is out there, especially in Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan. They are big target areas for us.”
Thomson doesn’t have any idea how many adoptions they might do on Aug. 22 because of this event.
“We will be giving out adoption coupons to the riders,” Thomson said. “We could do 10 adoptions that day from the riders. We don’t usually have this large of an event planned for us.”
To make the event successful, Paxton said they have received some nice sponsorships and help from several individuals who donated money and volunteered their time.
“The five food trucks have all waived their monetary fee to help support this great cause, and that is exciting,” Paxton said.
If you have a story you would like to see in Making a Difference, email David Boyce at Drive@ksctar.com