Fort Smith residents will have an opportunity to help two local causes at once this Saturday during an all-day concert event.
Jen’s Kitty Rehab and the United Way are partnering to host a fundraiser to support local cats who need families and flood survivors who were impacted by the historic weather event.
“The flood impacted animals, as well as humans, in our community,” said Jennifer Grayston, founder of Kitty Rehab. “We are proud to be able to help the animals that we could and the United Way has been a significant help to the people affected by the flood. The recovery effort is ongoing and this is a great opportunity for our community to come together and heal together, while raising funds to further the recovery efforts.”
Grayston said “a cat on a recliner” is a small issue in comparison to what some have lost, but supporting local animals is still a need her organization can meet.
Sam Price, Kitty Rehab fundraising director, worked with the Fort Smith Parks Department to set up the event with the two organizations, Grayston said.
“It was actually a joint venture between (Kitty Rehab board member) Jesse Fenwick and myself,” Price said. “I wanted to do some sort of fundraiser to help raise money for Jen’s Kitty Rehab and also for flood survivors.”
Price, who has organized other flood relief work, said Fenwick had the time, experience and resources to set up the event.
The festival will include live music from various bands, karaoke contests, a bounce house, food vendors and booths sponsored by the River Valley Artisan Market, according to a press release.
Grayston said the quality and entertainment will be similar to other events Fort Smith hosts during the year. She believes the free festival is something residents will talk about for a long time.
Price said the event, which started out as just an idea for a benefit concert, has “exploded” into something he thinks will be amazing for the community.
Despite the cat rescue being a hosting partner, there will not be an official adoption event. Grayston said it wasn’t possible on the short time frame due to legal and logistical requirements, but pets are allowed in city parks. If anyone needs to rehome or find an adopter for a pet, she encouraged residents to bring them and potentially find the animal a forever family.
“We were proud to be able to help financially and logistically with the rescue agencies that were saving the lives of helpless animals during the flood,” said Fenwick in a press release. “This event will be a good opportunity for animal lovers and others in our community to help in the healing process.”
Half of all proceeds collected will go to Kitty Rehab's mission of rehabilitating cats and flood relief efforts. The other half will go to the Fort Smith United Way recovery work.
Grayston said the organization has incurred animal rescue costs related to the flooding. Proceeds will go toward flood relief needs and additional veterinary care, recovery of cats and continued costs of rehoming pets who have been displaced.
The event will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at Ross Pendergraft Park. People with questions or an interest in volunteering at the event are encouraged to contact the Jen’s Kitty Rehab Facebook page or call Fenwick at (479) 431-9025.