LATEST NEWS! Music for Critters has launched!- 29 May 2019 -
Michel Goguen pictured with Bella (photo by Denis Duquette)
In this interview, I chat to Michel, aka Open Strum, about his fantastic fundraiser “Music for Critters” which has just launched – in its second year!
First of all, what is “Music for Critters” and why were you inspired to start?
I used to work at an animal shelter and that job changed everything for me. I still have the senior dog room and senior cat room in my head and this pushes me to work harder in order to help them out. I also realized that to truly help out animal shelters and animal rescues, we also needed to help environmental non-profits. I then decided to create the “Music for Critters” fundraiser to help all of these non-profits.
Who is Bella and what’s her story?
Bella is a therapy dog and she was rescued from an SPCA 5 years ago. My friend Carole Galluchon, who volunteers with Fresh Start Dane Rescue, helped Bella to feel comfortable around people and has since then become a therapy dog to help with anxiety. She’s now 9 years old and is the sweetest dog I know!
What did you achieve last year, and how are you building on that success?
200 people participated in last year’s fundraiser and we raised just over $2,400 through cash donations or supplies for the non-profits. New for this year I’ve teamed up with schools and daycares. Kids are participating by bringing in some donations to help some non-profits. I feel that it’s very important to involve children in these types of projects, so I’m very grateful for the teachers and workers that are helping out at Ecole Champlain and Birchmount School. Since teaming up with schools and daycares, I’m quite certain that we’ll reach the 200 donations for this year’s event. However, since we have lots of students and their parents participating, I’m hoping we’ll match (or better still, exceed) last year’s results!
How can people get involved?
This year’s “Music for Critters” fundraiser has just started and will finish on 30 June. Everyone is invited to participate – in three easy steps:
- Donate supplies or money to an animal shelter, animal rescue or environmental non-profit organization of choice.
- Send Open Strum a message.
- Open Strum will send you over 20 songs and messages by different artists as a gift.
What’s more, everyone who donates will be entered for a chance to win one of several prizes. Prizes include: a DVD and live CD by Heart, T-shirt and CD by Rosanne Cash, a book by Elizabeth Lesser, books by Blueberry Bear Tales and a book by Let’s Go On Safari. Anyone around the world has a chance to win one of these prizes. Plus, there are several prizes just for people living in the Moncton, Canada area – offered from some great businesses located there. These include a massage therapy, bellydance lessons, a pet basket and tickets to a Francis Cabrel concert.
Winners will be drawn and notified at the end of the fundraiser on June 30, 2019. Like last year, I won’t be accepting any funds, donations should be made directly to the non-profit organizations.
Michel, you mention supplies… what are they are exactly, and which in your opinion are most welcomed?
Regarding supplies, I’d always advise contacting the non-profit and asking what type of donations they need. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a photographer to take a few pictures of their rescued pets – so they can post these online and find new owners to adopt them. Meanwhile, here’s a list of typical donations which could help out some non-profits:
- Pet food (sealed)
- Cat litter (sealed)
- Pet toys (new or used)
- Liquid laundry detergent
- Hand soap
- Paper towel
- Blankets (new or used)
- Garbage bags
- Dog leashes and collars (new or used)
- Pet beds (new or used)
- Towels (new or used)
- Financial donations
- Gift cards (for pet food, cleaning supplies, etc.)
- Office supplies (paper, stamps, pens, etc.)
Finally, who are some of the awesome people that you’ve teamed up with to make this all happen?
Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. David Suzuki, Heart, Rosanne Cash, Elizabeth Lesser, Sam Roberts Band, Ani DiFranco, Francis Cabrel, Joanne Shenandoah, Peter Harper, Mickey Raphael, Jenn Grant, Jeff Coffin, Nikki Payne, Pierre Robichaud, Julie Doiron, Trinity Rose, Les Païens, Izabelle, Chloé Breault, Josephine Pascoe, Khalid El Idrissi, B1TS, Ronaldo Richard, Blueberry Bear Tales, Studio Sephira, Line Woods, Dooly’s, Global Pet Foods, Comfy Dog Stay, Let’s Go On Safari, Boo Boy Cat Toys, Mara D Shea, and Dawn LeBlanc Massage Therapist – all of whom were generous enough to donate a song, message or prize for the project. A big thank you to all of them!