“It was completely mind-blowing,” Denessen said. “There was no planning, which is the best part. I think it really does show that this is important to people.”
Some donations came from as far away as the East Coast, Denessen said. Here in town, staff at Advanced Technology Group raced to raise $500, which equated to 45 bags of cat and dog food and a $100 check. Staff also put together calendars earlier this year featuring their own pets, which they sold and then planned to donate to animal shelters around the Missoula Valley. After AniMeals made its plea on social media last week, the organizers decided to reroute those funds, including $262 and the future proceeds from the 30 calendars yet to be sold, to AniMeals.
“I was pretty overwhelmed with the support and flood of donations that came through,” said Anna Gjefle, a programmer analyst at Cognizant, parent company of ATG. “There’s quite a few people that gave for the cause.”
The flare in donations gives Denessen hope for other goals at AniMeals. The organization is in the “silent” fundraising phase for a new building, which would expand its current 5,200-square-foot space to approximately 8,100 at a new location. Donations for that project can be made at www.animeals.com.
By Friday, a full week after her post, Denessen gave AniMeals’ social media followers the final update: 8,145 pounds of food, with more coming in and $625 cash. Denessen believes the donated food weigh will top 9,000 pounds.