(WXYZ) — Sidney Bates, 14, has always loved animals, but her passion for helping them started six years ago when she got Wishes, Ashley and Aria.
The felines gave the Bates family a better understanding of the hardships homeless cats and other animals go through.
“We started feeding the animals outside, and we started, we built a little kitten hotel, so there was a blanket and food and water to eat,” Bates said.
This was the turning point in Bates’ philanthropic journey.
The 14-year-old has teamed up with All About Animals to neuter or neuter rescued cats with the aim of finding them forever homes or releasing them into the wild.
In 2017, Bates dedicated its annual lemonade and cookie stand to raise $170 for homeless cats and dogs.
Aiming to go further, the following year Bates launched the “For The Love of Pets” fundraising campaign, raising more than $16,000 – including nearly $6,000 this year alone.
“Every year I involve more friends and more sponsors and help as many animals as possible within the community,” said the young animal lover.
Apart from the money, the teenager collected hundreds of animal products through her fundraiser and delivered them to All About Animals in February.
Bates says she thinks people are trying to understand how vulnerable animals are. Yet the real realization comes once individuals start working with homeless animals and see firsthand the hardships they go through during the winter.
The humanitarian side of the 14-year-old grows every day. His next venture is Hiker Box for the homeless.
“I’m working with Detroit on Your Feet, to assemble 50 to 100 backpacks so we can put these items in the backpacks and distribute them specifically to homeless people in Detroit,” Bates.
Backpacks will include hoodies, gloves, non-perishable food items, hygiene kits, etc. As the project rolls out in the fall, Bates’ mother Gretchen says her daughter has already had a positive impact on her family and friends.
“I think about the love she shows for the world. People talk about wanting to change. My daughter is achieving that,” the animal lover’s mother said.
Meanwhile, Bates says she believes everyone can make a difference, regardless of age.
“I’ve realized that if you’re trying to make a difference in the community, then a lot of people in the community are willing to join you and help vulnerable populations or whatever you’re working on to try and make a difference. “, said Bates. .
To support Bates’ charitable initiatives, visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/allaboutanimalsrescue. You can also call 586-879-1745.