Once the shelter agrees to the program, measure the cages & ask the kennel staff what their needs are (drains, cage bars, etc.) or types of beds needed.
Volunteers can be recruited through church groups, senior centers, community centers, girl scouts, sewing circles, etc. There are numerous sewing and quilting forums that can be contacted on-line. Post a message about the program and chances are you will get some volunteers. One article in the local paper can result in volunteers as well as donations of supplies.
Put up notices at local pet shops, vets’ offices, fabric stores, etc. Word-of-mouth works well too – every person who works on the program seems to be excited to talk about it to family and friends.
I have magnetic signs on my car & inexpensive cards to hand out with our e-mail & blog address. As far as getting supplies – the same notices in the same places will take care of that. You can also solicit donations from upholstery shops & fabric store coupons. You don’t have to use only new fabric. Sheets, pillowcases, t-shirts, etc. can all be cut up to make the beds.
Comforters are great because they are already stuffed and all you have to do is cut and hem them.
You can request money donations from people who want to participate in the program but can’t sew. You can ask for direct contributions to the program, or you can set up something where someone can donate enough money to provide beds for a specific period of time (e.g.) and during that time, the person’s name is posted at the shelter even on the beds themselves!– or donations can be made in memory of a companion animal who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
The program seems to take on a life of its own. It easily captures everyone’s imagination because it’s an easy way to help animals in desperate need. Also, the level of commitment can vary – a volunteer can make one bed a month as time permits – or dozens, but every single one directly impacts on the quality of life of a shelter animal.
If you need more information about starting a program, please feel free to email us. Thanks for your interest, once you plant the seed, your project starts to grow!