It is hard to believe we just wrapped up our 5th annual Freedom Walk in Toronto and 4th in Vancouver. Last year we experienced our most successful Freedom Walk fundraising event to date, raising the bar to record-breaking numbers.
This year, still high on enthusiasm and optimism, we launched our campaign only to have our social media accounts compromised a few days later. With our main avenues for communications jeopardized, we were effectively isolated from our community and the ability to promote our event. Knowing the impact this would have on our fundraising abilities, we quietly lowered our goal from $20,000 to $10,000 and accepted the possibility we could still fail to reach our adjusted goal.
What we learned from this year’s experience is that the inability to reach our goals does not equate to failure. Rather, success is measured in different ways. When faced with adversity it is easy to be swept away with negativity, but the situation reminded us to never lose sight of our blessings. Without prompt, our community rallied together to fundraise towards our goal while our sponsors stepped forward to offer their support despite our inability to give them the proper recognition. What we lacked in voice, our community we made up in spirit, and once again amazed us by raising $15,000 against the odds.
Individuals who take an active role in local initiatives are the foundations of a strong community, and although we may be small, we are undoubtedly mighty. Whether you fundraised, donated, volunteered, or simply shared our mission, you have been an important part of the journey, and we cannot express our gratitude enough.
While we thank each and every one of our fundraisers and donors, we would like to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of Wendy and Lauren, who were not only our top fundraisers this year, but made the extra effort to spread awareness by organizing a corporate lunch and learn session.
Our Work Continues
At the time of writing this blog, EK Park, founder and executive director of Free Korean Dogs, made her way to Korea for our annual visit. There, she will have her boots on the ground and all hands on deck visiting our dogs, assessing their needs, and working with shelter managers to see where improvements can be made. Caring for our dogs brings about a myriad of emotions. On the one hand, there is so much pride and joy seeing their progress as they live their lives freely. On the other hand, the stress of financial bills and resources constantly looms over us.
Our work is sustained by the generosity of our donors, and our success in saving dogs is a direct result of your kindness. Without you, there would be no Free Korean Dogs. Thank you for believing in us and our mission, and allowing us to continue to do what we love for those we love. We promise we will continue to commit 100% to doing everything in our power to provide the best possible care.
Our Team Who Made It All Possible
A heartfelt thank you to all those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the events the glowing success they were. We are so fortunate to have the help and support of an amazing team that is full of surprises and outdos themselves every year. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to have worked with the following individuals who made everything possible:
- Haesun J. – Event Coordination Lead (Toronto)
- Steve D. – Event Logistics (Toronto)
- Samantha W. – Event Day Support (Toronto)
- James W. – Event Day Support (Toronto)
- Nathan W. – Event Day Support (Toronto)
- Loghan M. – Artistic Design (Toronto)
- Alaya J. – Graphic Design (Toronto & Vancouver)
- Joanna K. – Event Coordination Lead (Vancouver)
- Carmen S. – Event Coordination (Vancouver)
- David W. – Event Coordination (Vancouver)
- Maggie H. – Event Support (Vancouver)
- Matthew H. – Event Support (Vancouver)
- Kevin K. – Event Logistics (Vancouver)
- Albert T. – Event Photography (Vancouver)
- Cody L. – Event Photography (Vancouver)
- Heidi B. – Event Photography (Vancouver)
Last, but not least, it is with sincere gratitude we thank our sponsors this year, who added the extra cherry on top of an amazing day. As a community of dog lovers and advocates, we are always in search of the best products and services for our pets while trying to stay true to local roots. All of our local sponsors are Canadian businesses, and many of them are small, local, and family-owned.
Small businesses are the hearts of our neighborhoods, spine of our local economies, and spirits of our local communities. We feel extremely fortunate to have their friendship and support and hope you will continue to support local businesses whenever possible. It is with pride and honor that we share these wonderful establishments with you:
- Acana Premium dog food proudly crafted in Canada using the finest ingredients sourced from around the world.
- Bark & Meow A one-stop shop located in the heart of Toronto’s Korea Town, specializing in curating Canadian-made and vegan options for dogs, cats, and other small animals.
- Crumps Naturals Dog treats proudly made in Canada with all-natural ingredients by a family-owned business.
- Golden Green Micro Greens Fresh, locally grown, organic, pesticide-free, non-GMO, and low carbon footprint microgreens with mega health benefits for both humans and pets.
- Made by Mel Studio Customized and unique pyrography art.
- Orijen Unlocking dogs’ full potential with biologically appropriate nutrition formulated by experts. Proudly Canadian!
- PetSmart Etobicoke Retail pet store offering quality pet products, pet food, and accessories. Find pet service locations for pet grooming, dog training, and boarding.
- Pet Valu Lower Simcoe An independently owned and operated franchise pet store offering premium brands for our furry and reptile friends.
- Tilted Barn Simple, healthy, all-natural, and 100% Canadian-made dog treats and dog food for pets of all ages and sizes.
- Ace Camp Leading manufacturer of quality camping, outdoor gear, and accessories.
- Barks and Biscuits Natural, organic, and sustainable dog treats handmade in Vancouver.
- Bob the Dog A family-run Vancouver small business specializing in natural and holistic options, and a proud cheerleader for supporting local rescues!
- Deadly Bear Hug Dog, cat, and pet stickers, and other accessories.
- Earth Rated Environmentally friendly and sustainably responsible dog products range from poop bags, wipes, and toys.
- Great Dane Coffee The best coffee on campus at UBC! Coffee and pastries in-house using locally sourced ingredients, offering visitors a home away from home.
- The Monarch Group
- Sharper Marketing Canada’s leading supplier of imprinted giftware for university and college bookstores.
- Vivus Pets Proudly Canadian, 100% plant-based, and sustainable dog treats, supplements, and chews. Formulated by board-certified veterinarians based on peer-reviewed scientific research.
- Watkins Online
- We Gouda Personalized charcuterie and cheese boxes for every occasion. Assembled with love and offered in vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options!
Thank you again for another amazing year. Until next time!
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