Posted: June 26, 2012, 10:00 p.m. EDT
Courtesy of Jennifer Plombon
Homemade beanie hats are just one item sent out in the free care packages to people who adopt a rescue hedgehog.
It's all about hedgehogs for people at the Hedgehog Welfare Society. Members of the all-volunteer Hedgehog Welfare Society help hedgehogs in many ways. One HWS project involves sending free care packages to hedgehog owners. Packages were first sent out to hedgehog owners in 2002 by Jennifer Plombon and Heather Carlin Johnson.
"We wanted a way to reward people for adopting needy rescue hedgehogs and get them started off with some needed supplies,” Plombon said.
To receive a package, people must adopt from a hedgehog in a rescue situation and be a member of the HWS, which is how Plombon hears about them and vice versa. Supplies sent include a homemade beanie hat for hedgehogs to hide under and a snuggle sack, plus care sheets with hedgehog information and various sample foods, including insects.
"I accept donations from grateful members to buy fabric for the hats and bags,” Plombon said. "Also, I receive small sums from iGive when members use it for online shopping. I cover the food and mailing costs myself. I have sent out many thousands of packages over the years, and have received many letters and photos of grateful hedgies hiding under their hats.” Plombon continues this task as founder and Committee Chair of the HWS Care Packages Committee.
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Funding is another aspect of the Hedgehog Welfare Society. "The HWS has spent about $5,000 total on research costs,” said Donnasue Graesser, current CFO and CIO of the HWS. "Much of the work is done by volunteers, and many owners pay for the necropsy of their own hedgehogs, which allows us to keep costs relatively low. Our rescue budget is, on average, $2,500 annually. This includes financial help with veterinary bills for rescued hedgehogs, care packages for rescue hedgehogs, and, in the case of large-scale rescue, transportation costs. We also devote some of our funds toward supporting educational seminars at hedgehog events.”
One fun way that funds are raised to help hedgehogs is through an ornament exchange. "I have been running a hedgehog Christmas ornament exchange since 1997,” said Linda Way-Edwards. "Thirty people make 30 hedgehog ornaments, plus two for auction. These are sent to a central station. That person takes one of each ornament and puts it in a box and sends it to each participant, so participants get back 30 unique Christmas ornaments in time for tree trimming. At least two sets go up for auction and the proceeds go toward hedgie rescues.”