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Howard County Times
Howard County

Maryland Pet Valu locations raise $10,000 for Ellicott City flood relief

Ellicott City Pet Valu managers Heather Pettit, center, and Kori Dunkirk, right, present Ellicott City Partnership board member Kelly Zimmerman with a $10,000-check on Sept. 7 after holding a fundraiser at several Maryland Pet Valu locations.

Pet Valu employees and customers left Maryland's 33 locations last month with freshly bathed animals and happy hearts after the chain's self-serve pet wash fundraiser raised $10,000 in donations for the Ellicott City Partnership flood relief effort.

On Aug. 27 and 28, Pet Valu locations statewide organized a pet wash weekend, where customers paid $10 to bathe their pets in high-quality washing stations and use specialty supplies, including shampoo, aprons, towels and professional dryers. All proceeds were donated on Sept. 7 to the partnership for Ellicott City's Main Street recovery from the July flood that destroyed dozens of businesses and homes.

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"All locations did really, really well," said Cassie Ashley, district manager for the Ellicott City location and all Southern Maryland locations. "People came out to help their own community. Some of our stores did not have dog washes, so they were taking monetary donations."

After hearing the news of Main Street's destruction, Ashley said she and Anna DiGregorio, marketing director, and marketing manager Ally Homa were sad when they learned the popular, thriving shopping area was swept away in the floodwaters. While Pet Valu locations donated food to those affected, Ashley wanted to do more.

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"It hit home for some of those managers," she said. "All the managers got behind the cause and wanted to do a great job."

DiGregorio said the chain has participated in other fundraising efforts for causes and organizations in the past, such as partnerships with local shelters, rescues and charities. This time, stores welcomed customers to bring in their pets and get clean for the cause.

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"It was great," DiGregorio said. "They came into the store and happily bathed their dogs and, sometimes, cats. We don't always have dogs in our dog wash. We also have some other animals as well."

Ellicott City store managers Heather Pettit and Kori Dunkirk said they were thrilled to watch the fundraiser transform from a possibility to a complete success.

"I can't put into words what this means to me, my staff, our community and the countless customers who have shared their stories of the events and aftermath related to the flooding in old Ellicott City," Pettit said. "I was honored to present the check."

The highlight of the event was seeing everyone come together as a family, Homa added.

"It's so important for us at Pet Valu because we view ourselves as community partners," Homa said. "Seeing the devastation in Ellicott City, it was so important for us to get involved because we are a family and you'd do anything to help out those people."

Donations continue to pack the Ellicott City Partnership mailbox, said Executive Director Maureen Sweeney Smith, some coming from even outside the U.S. Smith said the partnership appreciated Pet Valu's support.

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"I mean, $10,000 is a lot of money. We couldn't believe how much they raised," Smith said. "It is unbelievable. I've just seen the very best side of humanity. Locally, almost every bar and restaurant and business has done a fundraiser for us."


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