Friends' generate $20K at rocking' Mardi Gras Ball


The Linden Place Ballroom was aglow with bright purple, yellow and green lights Saturday night, welcoming animal lovers to "laissez les bons temps rouler" at the sixth annual Friends of the Bristol Animal Shelter Mardi Gras Ball.

Rockin' Soul Horns Band's big band beats energized the dance floor as the 110 in attendance partied into the late evening, March 1. The event raised $20,000 for the emergent care and emergency veterinary fund for the new animal shelter.

The new shelter is slated for a late-April opening, and the Friends are hoping to close the gap in their fund-raising efforts for the capital campaign. The Friends' capital campaign is $350,000, and is based on the original projection that the $2 million bond passed in 2007 would only cover the cost of building the shelter.

"That bond amount was not enough to fund necessary fixtures, furnishings and equipment that would be needed to run the shelter," said Betty Brito, chairperson of the Friends' capital campaign. "

A major portion of that $350,000 is allocated to the construction of a humane education center, which costs $185,000.

"The Friends believed firmly that the humane education center was a critical element in the shelter and offered to take on the full responsibility of its construction cost," Ms. Brito said.

To date, the Friends have raised $121,660 against the $185,000 and $217,907 against the overall goal.

State Rep. Ken Marshall and State Sen. Ray Gallison presented the Friends with a $2,500 legislative grant at the Ball, which is included in the total amount raised, Ms. Brito said. That grant will be applied toward the epoxy flooring in the animal areas of the shelter.

"We have received very little grant money for this project and the vast majority of the $121,660 has come from private donations," she said.

Donors, such as the residents of the Highlands Neighborhood, pooled their resources and gifted nearly $5,000. Another, Olivia Murray, a 6-year-old animal-lover, asked her friends to donate to the animal shelter instead of getting her birthday presents. That amounted to $500.

"While the lack of grant money has made the fundraising challenging, it is moments like those that have been heartwarming," Ms. Brito said. "Bristol continues to be a community that loves its animals."


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