A sold out crowd of animal lovers enjoyed the “Country Wine, Jazz, Cheese and Chocolate Festival” last Saturday, June 5.
The festival was a fund-raiser for the Humane Society of Central Arizona in Payson and was hosted by the Rusty Lyon family at La Cienega Ranch.
Lyon son, Mark Lyon, winemaker for Sebastiani Vineyards in Sonoma, Calif., furnished the wines and was on hand to pour the wines and discuss the winemaking process.
Funds were raised through ticket sales and a raffle for a trip to a Sonoma resort and spa along with other special items.
A $40,000 challenge gift was announced from a Valley donor who asked that festival attendees and the community at large step up to make a new shelter a reality.
That challenge generated and additional $42,000 in pledges from the generosity of attendees who stepped forward, bringing the funds raised for the Humane Society to more than $100,000.
The money raised will be directed toward completing critically needed new facilities which are necessary to carry on the Humane Society mission to rescue, shelter, and seek appropriate and loving homes for the animals of central Arizona, Humane Society officials said.
The current facility, an A-Frame house built over 40 years ago, has housed the Humane Society since 1972.
Even though it was not intended for such services, over the years the little house was used to provide compassionate care and shelter for thousands of dogs, cats and other special animals that came to the organization due to abandonment, mistreatment, loss of a caregiver or other circumstances.
In January 2009, ground was broken to build a new shelter, but with the economic downturn also came a downturn in donations to complete construction. With the reality of the economy, the task of raising the funds necessary to complete the shelter as designed has been daunting.
In order to move the project to completion, the board of directors formed an ad hoc committee of community leaders to explore all possible options which will provide the critical components necessary to safely and compassionately house the animals who are sheltered and cared for by the HSCAZ.
“The board of directors is deeply grateful to the Lyon family and all of our very generous friends and supporters,” says board chair Bill Enlund.
“The funds raised at the “Country Wine, Jazz, Cheese and Chocolate Festival” will provide a tremendous boost to the effort and will help make it possible to move this very important and much-needed project forward.”
For more information on the Humane Society of Central Arizona, visit their Web site at www.humanesocietycentralaz.org.