By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Kate Calderwood, a Shrewsbury High School junior, has used her marketing skills and love for dogs in need to help a local shelter. As such, Calderwood recently donated $1,000 she raised from her nonprofit, Winnie’s Treats, to the Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton, Inc.
A class stirs a passion
The genesis of her donation was when she was given a summer assignment in her AP language class last spring to research a social injustice or an issue that she wanted to “shine a light on.” She chose a topic that was near and dear to her heart – rescue dogs.
“Since I have two rescue dogs, I decided to do it on animal rescue,” she said. “I watched documentaries and read articles. I was shocked about how some of the information was so horrible and so surprised about how bad some dogs have it.”
“I needed to do something to help them,” she added.
Helping homeless dogs
With her mother, MaryPat, Calderwood came up with the idea of making dog treats to sell to raise money to help dogs in shelters.
She named her organization, Winnie’s Treats, after one of her own beloved rescue pups.
First, she researched recipes and then local shelters in the area that her fundraising efforts could support.
“I looked up some recipes and tried them out and then tested them on my dogs to see if they liked them or not,” she said.
“When I came across Baypath I loved it. It seemed very small and I thought they could use the money and that it would go to a great cause,” she reflected.
A plan in action
Once she had a final product, she made a Facebook and an Instagram page to reach a variety of markets.
She then baked, packaged, sold and delivered homemade dog treats to her friends, family and neighbors.
“I started selling them and all my friends and family reached out and they donated or they bought some and then it kept growing and growing…,” she remarked. “I ended up making $1,000 to donate which was amazing.”
She is now making and selling fleece blankets for dog beds after seeing a video on YouTube on how to make them. They range in price from $15 to $20.
“Since I’m in school and I’m on a club volleyball team right now I decided I was going to do something a little different for the winter and then maybe in the summer when I have more time, I can again do the dog treats,” she added.
This project has inspired Calderwood to think about volunteering at Baypath when the pandemic is over and even continue similar pursuits in the long term.
“I just want to spread awareness on this topic and how important it is to donate to local animal shelters and just support in general,” she added. “Everyone forgets about animal shelters and everyone wants the perfect dog but there are so many dogs that need help and if you just give a little it can go a long way.”