OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For decades, Betty White filled homes with smiles and laughter and filled animal hearts with love and compassion.
“That’s what Betty White was all about. Her entire life spent advocating for animals,” Nebraska Humane Society Digital Marketing Manager Steven Elonich said.
White passed away on December 31st, 2021. She was set to turn 100 years old on January 17th.
Now, the American icon who once said she liked animals more than people is being honored on that day with the Betty White Challenge.
As part of the challenge, fans are asked to donate money to an animal rescue or shelter in her name.
It didn’t take long for folks in the community to ask if the Nebraska Humane Society would be participating.
“They emailed us and messaged us on Twitter and Facebook saying they wanted to take part in this, and we just think that’s a really good and special way to honor someone,” NHS Marketing Specialist Brendan Gepson said.
The outpouring of support from the community and how it started is what makes it even more special.
“When we get this kind of organic support from the public it’s really heartwarming,” Gepson said.
“It’s just really cool to see it come from an organic and grassroots effort, rather than us reaching out to people,” Elonich said.
For NHS, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Just before Christmas, hundreds of neglected animals were rescued from a home in Papillion.
“We doubled our population in the shelter during that raid, so that was definitely a huge undertaking. Well worth it, because these animals are going to be well taken care of, but we definitely do need support with that,” Elonich said. “You can’t just double what you have in the shelter and not come with challenges.”
Money that can impact thousands of animals’ lives in the metro.
“Last year we had over 8,000 adoptions. That is a lot of animals to feed and take care of and to keep here. Because not all those animals are adopted in a few days. Sometimes it’s weeks or months,” Elonich said. “So that money really goes a long way in making sure that they have the best life here until we can get them into their best life in their forever homes.”
NHS will also honor Betty White by engraving a brick with her name on it to be placed with other bricks in front of the main entrance alongside other advocates, pet lovers, and pets.
“Putting a brick out there in honor of Betty because she was such a huge advocate of animals her entire life would be a really great way to honor her,” Gepson said.
Nebraska nice strikes again.
“Whether it’s the Betty White Challenge or whether it’s the recent raid, our community is awesome. Omaha really backs us and it’s just another great way that they are showing their colors and how much they support animals and can come together,” Elonich said.
You can donate for the challenge now through Monday, January 17th.