Lisa Bekiaris, Founder of Raffle Rescue

Lisa Bekiaris—founder of Raffle Rescue, which functions as a food bank of sorts, but in this case, we’re referring to pet food—recounts her childhood and formative years as a precocious animal lover, where she and her sister would raise and care for animals on their property, and tend to sick or injured ones nearby. FullSizeRenderAs an adult, she recalls, her kinship with animals hardly diminished, and in reading an article about people feeling compelled to surrender their pets to shelters because financial factors made them unable to afford to continue caring for them—and decided to do something about it, launching Raffle Rescue in 2009. Some month sPet Pantry Day May 2015 3later, Bekiaris remembers, she took a position as a driver with Meals On Wheels, and quickly recognized that many of her elderly clients were sharing some of their meals with their animals, because they lacked the resources to buy pet food. This galvanized and expanded her efforts with Raffle Rescue, which, she explains, when the started it, was the only such organization she was aware of anywhere. By the photo.jpgnumbers, Bekiaris notes, the organization is currently serving, 96 clients, which represents 144 pets, and each month, they distribute some 3400 pounds of pet food. She explains the criteria used to determine people who qualify for the program, and the protocol she employs for visiting the home, otherwise assessing the clients’ needs and ensuring all parties understand the commitment being made. Bekiaris acknowledges that her ambitions include expanding the Raffle Rescue well beyond the Pasco County region. (www.rafflerescue.org)

BowWowBuddies-2

 

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Taylor Rothenberg, the manager at Camp Bow Wow Sarasota, about its then-impending event, “Photos with Santa Paws,” to benefit the Bow Wow Buddies Foundation, which provides medical  grants of up to $2500 for the care of animals whose humans may be unable to afford those treatments or procedures. (www.campbowwow.com/Sarasota, www.bowwowbuddies.com/)

 

COMEDY CORNER: Karen Rontowski’s “Animals, Parents, Alligators” (portion)   (http://www.karenrontowski.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Los Lobos’ “Will The Wolf Survive”

AUDIO ARCHIVE:

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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