October 2022 Monthly Volunteer Profile: Amanda and Adam Belaire
Adam and Amanda Belaire have both enjoyed animals all their lives. Now the married couple are recognizing their pets over the years by volunteering together with the Winnipeg Humane Society.
Each Saturday they head over to the Hurst Street shelter and load up their Corolla with boxes of food, bags of cat litter and – sometimes – pet toys and treats. The items are delivered to households which have registered with the Winnipeg Humane Society Emergency Food Bank, which is focused on keeping pets and people together by providing relief from the cost of feeding family pets during challenging times.
Food is provided for free on an “as available” basis for a maximum of four pets per household. Deliveries generally include enough wet and dry food for each animal in the house for the week as well as litter for those households with cats.
Adam has been volunteering for just under a year and the deliveries have taken him all over the city. Two months ago, Amanda joined Adam officially on his rounds, but she does admit to accompanying him a couple of times before becoming an official WHS volunteer. Once she did it, she was hooked.
Once they’ve loaded up the car, Amanda is the navigator and Adam does the driving. All the delivery addresses are entered into Google Maps, a route is set and they hit the road. Usually, they deliver to four or five addresses in two hours. “But one day we delivered to about 10 stops in about three hours,” Amanda said.
“That day, we just showed to deliver empty boxes to use for packing,” Adam added. “They needed help and asked if we could do some deliveries. So we just loaded up the car.”
They’ve gotten to know a few of the places (and the people and pets) where they’ve delivered to more than once. “The people we deal with are fantastic,” Adam said. “They are always very polite and glad to see us.”
The same goes for the pets. “The cats, especially, often seem to know when we’re bringing the food,” Amanda laughed. “Maybe they see the purple shirts and figure ‘Yeah, I know you.’” Adam added the dogs are equally eager. “A couple of dogs where we’ve delivered were quite curious, sniffing away at the parcel. They get excited, smelling the dog food.”
They currently have two cats: an 18-year-old and a three-year-old. In spite of the age range, they feel – as many do – that if you have two cats, they’ll keep each other company.
Both of the Belaires have had dogs or cats all their lives, Adam growing up in the Maritimes and Amanda in Ohio, so volunteering at the Winnipeg Humane Society came naturally. “Growing up back home, my dog (a Bichon cross) got along really well with my cat, a Siamese. Not so much with other cats. It’s funny because the next-door neighbour cats always had a problem with my cat and would try and chase him. The dog would wait in hiding and as soon as my cat ran past the dog would jump out and chase the other cats.
It appears that volunteering at the WHS has been everything Adam and Amanda have hoped for, and more. They are already looking at more volunteer opportunities.
“This is a great use of our spare time,” Adam said. In the future, they both look forward to other volunteer opportunities. Adam has put his name in with Donor Relations to work on special events, while Amanda is looking forward to trying her hand at Feline Enrichment. Both are very interested in fostering cats in the future but feel bringing in strange cats is not fair to their elderly cat.
“I think we’d enjoy giving foster cats and kittens a place to be away from everything, grow up and see what a home life would be like and who knows, I might end up adopting one,” Amanda laughed. “That’s not the intention, but…”
And it’s the people who make it a great place to volunteer. “The staff are really nice,” Amanda said. “They’re responsive. Whatever it is you’re looking to do, they’re willing to work with you to find a place for you to go, find a schedule that works for you. And they are not shy about showing their appreciation for the work that everybody does. I’m glad that places like this exist.”
Adam agreed. “The passion that everyone here has for pets – and animals in general – is very refreshing. It’s inspiring to be around them.”
Written by: Brian Kozak, Volunteer MVP Writer
Photo by: Jim Harvey, Volunteer MVP Photographer
A group of volunteers founded the Winnipeg Humane Society in 1894 and are vital to our success today! With the help of volunteers, we can provide care, love and attention to our four (and sometimes two) legged friends until they find their forever homes. The MVP (Monthly Volunteer Profile) recognizes the work and gets to know these special MVP’s in a spotlight each month that includes an article and photo shoot. MVPs receive a framed photo and gift card as our thanks!
Is there a volunteer you’d like to nominate to be MVP? E-mail us (email@example.com) and tell us why you think they should be an MVP!