LAKEWOOD - An area nonprofit organization will have a more financially stable winter season than usual, thanks to PetSmart's Lakewood location.
On Saturday, PetSmart presented a $2,000 donation check to Centaur Stride as part of a companywide initiative to give back to nonprofit organizations. According to Andrew Hughes, store manager, Centaur Stride is the embodiment of the type of organization that PetSmart was looking for in its donation campaign.
"This year, corporate decided that it wanted to donate money to organizations, like Centaur Stride, that use animals in therapy with humans," Hughes said.
Andrew Hughes, store manager of PetSmart in Lakewood, presents a $2,000 check to Claudia Monroe, president and co-founder of Centaur Stride, as part of a new annual giving campaign.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
Hughes said that each of PetSmart's districts received $5,000 to distribute to nonprofits in their respective areas. He said Centaur Stride came up for consideration because Brittany Weise, a pet training instructor at the store, used to volunteer for them.
Since 1993, Centaur Stride has provided access and the benefits of horseback riding, as well as other programs, to a broad spectrum of individuals with and without disabilities. Its riding programs combine therapy and recreation to develop balance, coordination, strength, flexibility, posture and self-confidence. The social interactions it provides are intended to develop a sense of acceptance and self-esteem within participants. The cost to participate is $20 per lesson.
"(Centaur Stride) does a lot with children, adults and anybody that needs help with therapy," Hughes said. "And that is aligned with what our company likes as far as our morals and standards. So I put their name in, and it was approved for $2,000. We're happy to help them out and bring some attention to them because they're such a great part of the community."
On hand to receive the check was Claudia Monroe, president and co-founder of Centaur Stride. According to Monroe, the money received from PetSmart will be of much assistance as Centaur Stride settles into its slow season.
"This was a godsend," Monroe said. "And it was awesome timing because the winter is very difficult for us. We don't have very many riders, and we also have to care for the horses all winter long. Our whole organization depends on all of our fundraisers and donations because we don't break even with the small amounts that we charge for riders. So, $2,000 will really go far for helping us through the winter."
The next Centaur Stride fundraiser will be held in the form of a Chinese auction, with a drawing being held Saturday at the Crossroads Farm and Craft Market in Westfield. The event will feature a variety of basket prizes. Tickets are $1 each, 6 for $5 and 15 for $10. The drawing will take place at 3 p.m.