Big Dogs, Bikers, and Woolly Worms Work to Benefit Katrina’s Kids

From: Grandfather Home for Children
Published: Fri Nov 04 2005

Banner Elk, NC – The kids at the Grandfather Home for Children have a mission. They are using their entrepreneurial and fundraising skills to raise money in order to share Christmas with the children who, as a result of hurricane Katrina, have lost their homes and most of their possessions.

The children of Grandfather Home know the meaning of loss and trauma all too well. But since May of 2004, they have been participating in an animal assisted therapy program which includes working with a Great Dane named Rudy, the recipient of the 2005 Broadway Barks Hero award. The children "walk in miracles" following in the footsteps of this gentle giant and his Canine Crew, Gabi and Grace, who are also Great Danes.

The scope of the children’s animal advocacy endeavors and charitable works has grown by leaps and bounds since they became "Rudy’s Kids". During 2004, they began their work as Rescue Troopers by being volunteer foster parents to some of the homeless Danes in the care of the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League (MAGDRL), and then proceeded with a fundraising plan to help the town of Banner Elk rebuild a local dog park that was damaged by flooding.

After seeing the devastation hurricane Katrina wreaked in the Gulf Coast area, the children of Grandfather Home were deeply impacted by the reality that many thousands of kids had lost not only their homes, but all of their toys and clothing as well. And, with so many of their parents unable to find work, Christmas this year could be bleak for them.

During October the children were given two fantastic opportunities to put their fundraising talents to work. On Sunday, October 9th, the Catawba Shriners Association invited them to participate in a motorcycle Poker Run to benefit their Katrina’s Kids Christmas fund. Grandfather Home was delighted to host one of the stops for the run, and the participating bikers donated money along with 1000 canned drinks to the children’s Christmas fund.

The weekend of October 15th and 16th, "Rudy’s Kids" got a chance to use the donated drinks to raise money at the 28th Annual Woolly Worm festival. The purpose of the festival, besides being a great bunch of fun, is to choose a Woolly Worm caterpillar to predict the severity of the winter weather for the NC mountain ski country. With the help of Grandfather Home staff members, volunteers from the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League, and Rudy with his Canine Crew, the children set up their booth and set fire to their fundraising skills.

As a result of their efforts during the Poker Run and the Woolly Worm festival, "Rudy’s Kids" raised a total of $1,100.00 for their Katrina’s Kids Christmas fund, and a little over $500.00 to benefit the abandoned Danes in the care of the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League.

"I lost count of how many hundreds of times I heard the kids telling people as they gave out flyers; "please help our rescue Danes", "Get your ice cold drinks HERE and help us give Christmas to Katrina's kids", "read Rudy's story, he's our Hero",......etc. These children are just simply amazing to watch when they are working so hard for the causes they have championed." K. Stafford - MAGDRL National Media Project Mgr.

Tired and proud, the children are currently busy working with the local Red Cross chapter to connect with Katrina victims who have relocated to North Carolina. They are also in communication with a group of Louisiana residents who will help distribute Christmas gifts and gift cards to Katrina’s kids in New Orleans area shelters.

For more information about the children of Grandfather Home please visit:
To read Rudy’s Rescue Story, or for more information about the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League: visit the main website at:
Company: Grandfather Home for Children
Contact Name: Laura Hickey
Contact Email:

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