November 10, 2021 was Jacksonville Humane Society’s (JHS) 23rd annual Toast to the Animals event, where 500 guests gathered in Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field to celebrate JHS’s impactful work and continued animal care (the Jaguars Foundation and Pet Paradise were co-chairs of the event). Guests received a complimentary JHS wine glass, which were used for beverages provided by sponsor North Florida Sales (the food was local, too!). Music, auctions and the famous Wine Pull (where guests could purchase a “pull” and receive a surprise bottle of wine) were available for attendees to enjoy, too.
While many pets were featured on-screen throughout the evening, the proud pet parents of a former JHS rescue had the opportunity to share their adoption story with the audience live — their forever best friend even joined them.
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Available pets for adoption weren't in attendance, but their presence was felt through videos played during the event. Because of JHS’s strong community, the organization often gets updates about pets even after they’re adopted. “We do a lot of before and after pictures of pets that come in,” Theresa Scordo, chief development officer at JHS, said. “Some of these pets need a lot of TLC, not just grooming, but serious medical care and surgery, more than spay/neuter. When they are with us each day you start seeing them change for the better, not just physically but behaviorally too, then they get adopted and sometimes their new family will update us on how they are doing or create a dedicated social account for the pet. These pets look totally different from their first day with us.”
The event raised over $200,000 in donations that went toward JHS's Medical Fund, an integral part of the organization's lifesaving mission. The fund ensures that the nearly 9,000 animals in the shelter's care always get necessary medical treatments. In 2021, the event specifically honored philanthropists Linda and David Stein who have sponsored several charitable endeavors including donating to animal welfare organizations in Northeast Florida.
Toast to the animals was a night of fun, great food and drinks and an opportunity to give back to an important Jacksonville community cause. To learn more about our shelter partner, read our background article.
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Photo by Jacksonville Humane Society