It could be like a made-for-TV movie: Mother and daughter become involved in animal activism, they identify a need in their hometown and start their own effort that becomes a national success and super famous and there's a happy ending, etc.
Well, the success is there for sure. However, it took a lot of hard work and there isn't much in the way of glamour. And the happy ending? Let's just say that Lori and Shira Rich are assured that they'll probably always have more work to do. Surely they've managed a long list of happy resolutions through their efforts but given the realities of a Southern California city of 300,000+ people they have a long, long way to go.
You might have already heard of them. Taking It To The Streets With Lori And Shira is, "a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization that started out as a Mother and Teen Daughter driving around Riverside, California giving waters, snacks and dog treats to homeless people and their pets." Their mission is to "Spread A Little Kindness to homeless people and their pets. Educate about pet ownership while working to spay / neuter / vaccinate / microchip and license as many of those animals as possible."
For anyone who has enjoyed the compainionship of a pet it's not difficult to understand the value of such a relationship for a person who does not have a residence. For their animal compainion it may the very thing that saved them from certain death at the County Shelter.
For our community it means that we have citizens who will take on a need without support from the official channels. Their's is a daily effort involving literally endless treks across town into many spots most of us avoid. This is no paid position...Lori and Shira's efforts are supported through the help of numerous citizen benefactors. They work beyond the standard "outreach" conducted by city employees and put pretty much every bit of help that comes in right back into supplies and transportation.
Shira's attending college now and accompanies her mom on daily rounds when she's off-schedule. Lori keeps it going - day after day - and faithfully reports each day's work on their Facebook page. Their small accomplishments continue to accumulate...they've prevented hundreds of unwanted litters, provided veterinary care for many, and brought a little extra kindness to those in the most marginal places of Riverside society.
To my real Riverside heroes, Lori and Shira Rich: My gracious thanks to you for your work to make things better for our community.
- Ralph from Riverside