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Lincoln Animal Ambassadors (LAA) and The Cat House (TCH) raised over $7,000 at their 10th annual Meow and Chow event. The fundraiser took place on the evening of Oct. 19 at the Center for People in Need.

LAA and TCH are grateful to the numerous businesses and individuals that donated food and prizes.

Attendees dined on a selection of 18 soups along with several breads and desserts from nearly 50 restaurants and chefs. More than 50 bingo and 40 raffle prizes were won.

Appreciation from LAA and TCH goes to Nature’s Variety for once again sponsoring the fundraiser, and to various media outlets for promotion including KLKN, KOLN and KZUM. Also invaluable were the approximately 60 volunteers working behind the scenes.

A total of 150 diners attended the event, with four to eight per table. The large room was decorated with Halloween-themed balloon bouquets, and the numerous tables were decorated with black tablecloths and Halloween-themed stickers. In addition, a list of available soups and an illustrated sheet of bingo games were placed on each table.

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Long-time attendee Clancey Smith has sponsored the Lee Memorial Table at Meow and Chow for seven years in a row. She and her late husband started attending nine years ago to support animal rescue in Lincoln, and every year since his death she has sponsored a table. She believes that Meow and Chow is both a fun night and a great venue for raising awareness of LAA’s and TCH’s work.

Among those sitting at the Lee Memorial Table was one of Smith’s friends, Kendra Ekstrum, who was attending for the first time. She used to care for a colony of feral cats at her shop. Now Ekstrum has two indoor cats that follow her around everywhere and mean the world to her.

After the meal, TCH volunteer Gene Gillam served as bingo caller with Amber Nieman as his assistant. The evening culminated in a raffle that featured a $475 Brahmin leather purse and wallet set, a $250 Target gift card and a $125 Visa gift card.

Both LAA and TCH are volunteer-operated, and proceeds from Meow and Chow go toward their operating expenses. LAA addresses the root causes of animal homelessness in Lancaster County through a voucher-based, low-cost spay/neuter program, an income-based pet food bank and humane education. The Cat House is a no-kill shelter and adoption facility for cats in the Lincoln area. The group also runs a trap/neuter/return program for feral cats.

Both organizations remind everyone of another opportunity to support their programs by remembering them on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3.

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