Keychains for Ukraine | News, Sports, Jobs

Britt Waite, a Saranac Lake resident who works in Lake Placid, poses Wednesday at North Elba City Hall with key rings she made to raise money for animal rescue efforts in Ukraine. (Business photo – Elizabeth Izzo)

LAKE PLACID — Thinking of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one might think of the people affected by it, the economy or the politics behind it. A local woman has her mind on animals.

Britt Waite, a Saranac Lake resident who spends her days working in the construction and planning department at North Elba City Hall, came up with the idea to raise money to support Ukrainian animal rescue efforts after she seen footage of the Russian invasion on social media.

Waite said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine really affected her, because at a time when photos and information from war zones are so readily available on social media, war is “just really in your face.”

“I kind of took a break from Facebook, a little bit, just because I see it and cry, it breaks my heart,” she says.

Seeing the images and news from Ukraine reminded her of stories she had heard about people like Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, an American who founded Kabul Small Animal Rescue in Afghanistan, and Paul Farthing, who pushed to evacuate hundreds of animals from Afghanistan before the Taliban took over the country in August 2021.

Britt Waite holds a peace sign keychain — blue and yellow in color, a nod to the Ukrainian flag — at North Elba Town Hall in Lake Placid on Wednesday. (Business photo – Elizabeth Izzo)

As millions of people flee Ukraine or are displaced from their homes by conflict, countless pets are abandoned at bus stations, train stations and in residential areas.

Waite decided to put his skills to good use and make resin keychains to sell, with all proceeds going to three animal rescue organizations currently working on the ground overseas: War Paws, Network for Animals and International Fund for Animal Welfare. Keychains come in different shapes, most are blue and yellow in color to look like the Ukrainian flag.

She’s relatively new to making resin keychains, but she hopes her fundraiser will help some animals in Ukraine. Some Polish animal rescue volunteers are risking their lives to save the animals, Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported last week.

“I just try to help out when I can, $5 here, $10 there,” she says. “I don’t know, it breaks my heart. I know they go through a lot there.

This isn’t the first time Waite has raised money to help animal rescue organizations. Waite has volunteered for the Tri-Lakes Humane Society in Saranac Lake since she adopted her dog there.

Britt Waite sells keychains like this one, which is shaped like an Australian Shepherd and colored blue and yellow like the Ukrainian flag, to benefit animal rescue efforts in Ukraine. (Business photo – Elizabeth Izzo)

“If anyone knows me, they know that I love animals” she says. “I always have a rescue.”

She is currently involved with the Humane Society’s Pet Portrait fundraiser. Residents can donate $20 to the Humane Society through April 1 in exchange for an artist portrait of their pet. Waite is one such artist.

It was through her work with the Humane Society that Waite already knew about the three organizations for which she raises funds through the sale of her keychains.

Anyone interested in supporting War Paws, Network for Animals and the International Fund for Animal Welfare through Waite can visit their Etsy shop at www.tinyurl.com/BearsBestWishesUkraine and select items under the “For the benefit of Ukraine” tongue.


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