It’s a Jeep Thing donates to local animal shelters | Living
Kathy Swihart didn’t want to blow up her friends’ Facebook feeds.
So when she bought her first Jeep in 2013, the Washington native also created a private Facebook group: It’s a Jeep Thing.
For as many years as the group – made up of family members and close friends – has been active on Facebook, members of It’s a Jeep Thing have also been giving back to the community.
“We always got together to go for walks. I wanted to do something that gave back, that had a purpose,” Swihart said. “I realized that almost everyone loves animals; we all have pets.
February 8, Swihart hosted a fundraiser for local animal organizations. She figured February was a good time to donate because most organizations’ Christmas contributions would run out.
That year, the temperatures were below freezing and only four Jeeps participated in the fundraiser.
But over the years, fundraising has grown.
“Last year we only had 12 (Jeeps) because of COVID,” Swihart said. “This year, between people giving more and the Betty White Challenge, we got a lot more donations.”
Twenty jeeps of donations, to be exact.
Swihart and her Jeep club met Sunday at a local barbershop and filled Jeeps with dog and cat food, collars, bedding, cleaning supplies and other donations.
The brigade of colorful jeeps toured Washington County, delivering donations to Hound Haven, Marcia’s Muttley Crew, Angel Ridge Animal Rescue and Pet Search.
“The amount of stuff we had this year was just incredibly different than other years,” Swihart said. “The race (on Sunday) was better and different. I don’t know if we’ll ever top it – 20 Jeeps together, and each one was filled to the brim.
Brandy Ellerman, founding president of Hound Haven at Lone Pine, said her little medical rescue isn’t usually on donors’ radars. She was touched when It’s a Jeep Thing reached out – and shocked when the club came in to donate.
“I was totally speechless,” said Ellerman, who founded the shelter in 2015. “It was like something that, you know, you would see on TV. It was just amazing to see this caravan of Jeeps arrive and load us.
Ellerman said that in addition to basics like kibble and bedding, It’s a Jeep Thing also delivered medical supplies, handmade blankets and gift cards.
“I was so amazed. I’m so happy that there are still people like that in the world. It really touches your heart,” she said.
Marcia Hupp was also touched by the donation of It’s a Jeep Thing to her favorite project, Marcia’s Muttley Crew. Hupp has rescued and cared for senior dogs at his Lone Pine facility for decades.
This year marks the fourth time she’s been the target of It’s a Jeep Thing goodness.
“Their donation means a lot to me because I get donations here and there, but not like the rest of the bands,” she said. “It helps so much.”
Hupp said Jeep Donation Day was his version of Christmas.
“The first two years I cried like a baby,” she laughed.
These reactions – true gratitude – are what inspire Swihart and his Jeep Club to collect and donate.
“Seeing the reaction of the people we help, they are so grateful,” she said. “That feeling in your heart when you leave is why we do it every year.”
Hupp added, “What a great group of Jeepsters.”