Dyker Heights woman organizes fundraiser for animal rescue charity
Scores turn out to support work done by No More Tears group
Sandy Irrera said she didn’t expect the onslaught of people who came to the fundraiser at La Bella Panini Restaurant on 13th Avenue that she organized to benefit No More Tears Rescue, a non-profit group that saves unwanted, unloved and mistreated dogs.
“I figured we’d get about 50 people to come,” Irrera told the Brooklyn Eagle as she stood in the dining area of the restaurant on March 13, the night of the fundraiser. “But look at this! They’re still coming through the door!”
By the end of the night, 80 people came to support No More Tears and Irrera had raised nearly $2,000 for the group.
Irrera, a Dyker Heights resident, likes to volunteer her time organizing fundraisers for various charities and non-profit organizations and when she heard about No More Tears Rescue, she wanted to help. “They do such good work and they’re all volunteers. They’ve rescued so many dogs over past couple of years. It takes money to do what they do. I just wanted to do what I could to help them,” she told the Eagle.
Irrera has organized dozens of fundraisers for schools, charities, the American Cancer Society and Ronald McDonald House over the past few years. She has a knack for convincing people to donate to a good cause. She visits local businesses in Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge and Bensonshurst, cajoling the merchants to donate prizes to be raffled off at the fundraisers. “You have to give people a reason to come. If they get a chance to win something, it’s good for them and it’s good for the charity,” she said.
Guests at the No More Tears Rescue fundraiser paid an admission fee and also purchased tickets for a chance to win raffles for more than a dozen prizes, including gift baskets filled with boxes of pasta and jars of sauce, a $50 gift certificate to Rocco’s Calamari Restaurant, a Coach handbag, a cake plate, a vanity mirror, an oil painting, a Dirt Devil and a tray filled with New York State Lottery scratch-off tickets.
As the guests were buying their raffle tickets, the waiters and waitresses at La Bella Panini kept the food coming. Mouth watering trays of salad, pasta, chicken parmagiana, chicken franchese and other foods were served. For dessert, trays of cannolis were brought out.
Irrera, who worked without a microphone, nearly went horse calling out the winning numbers for each prize over the din of the crowd.
Laura Rieger, a volunteer with No More Tears Rescue, said the group is grateful for the support of Brooklyn residents. “We’re trying to do our best. There are lots of dogs out there being mistreated who need out help,” she told the Eagle.
No More Tears Rescue was founded nine years ago by Staten Islander Laura Flynn Amato. Flynn Amato was unable to attend the fundraiser. According to a statement on the group’s website, Flynn Amato’s goal is to rescue adult dogs in puppy mills that are no longer needed for breeding purposes because those dogs are treated inhumanely by puppy mill owners. “My first rescue attempt consisted of five crates and some leashes back in June of 2005,” Flynn Amato wrote in the statement.
The group rescues approximately 40 dogs a month from puppy mills in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country and from places in the Midwest. “Laura finds the breeders and then goes in to rescue the dogs. When she finds them, they’ll usually in horrendous condition because the breeders are so cruel. They stack them up in cages,” Rieger said.
In addition to the dog rescue operations, No More Tears Rescue also works to clean up the dogs, get them back to health and find loving homes for them.
For more information, visit www.nomoretearsrescue.com.
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