by Ciera Choate
People from across Charlotte came together Sunday, Aug. 21, to raise money and awareness for Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control.
Great Harvest Bread Company, 6420 Rea Road, hosted Animal Kneads Day for the fifth consecutive year, raising about $12,000 to help fund free spay and neuter services to those who are unable to afford them.
There is no system to determine who receives a free spay or neuter for their animal. Animal control operates on an honor system.
“We help whoever needs help,” Melissa Knicely, animal control’s public information specialist, said.
Euthanasia rates in Mecklenburg County dropped from 12,823 in 2010 to 11,790 in 2011, according to animal control. Jeff and Janet Ganoung, owners of the Great Harvest Bread Company, decided to host this event as a way to reduce those numbers even more.
“This actually works out to be a win-win-win,” Jeff Ganoung said. “If we can raise the awareness for why spay and neuter is important and lower the socioeconomic barrier, and by that I mean funding the spay and neuter so that people who are in tough times during this recession can actually affordably get spay and neuter, this will lower the unwanted homeless animals, which will lower the burden on the police department for going around and collecting, housing and euthanizing these animals, which lowers all of our tax structure base because it actually will be able to let the police budget go to other things.”
The Ganoungs began hosting this event in 2006 at their South Kings Drive location. After hosting it there for two years they decided to hold it at the newer Rea Road location.
“We’re big time animal lovers, and the euthanasia rates in Mecklenburg County are just terrible,” Janet Ganoung said. “Nobody wants to do that, but there are so many homeless animals that they just outwear their welcome at the shelters.”
Every cent of every dollar goes to animal control. The owners donate all the ingredients, some employees donate their time by working for free and members of the police department donate their time as well.
Although the Great Harvest Bread Company hosts the main fundraiser, many other organizations come out to support the cause. There are pet daycare services, adoption groups and many other organizations that participate in Animal Kneads Day.
This is not the only fundraiser the Great Harvest Bread Company takes part in throughout the year. They host one other event, and they also participate in about 55 other events throughout the year by providing bread to the people that attend.
“We set up a tent, open our table up and give bread away,” Jeff Ganoung said. “That’s our way to make the event more fun so that people want to come out and bring their kids and family. It’s good for them because each year that we participate it raises awareness for their cause.”
The couple believes it’s their duty to give back to their community and make it a better place.
“We believe that businesses should exist to make their communities better,” Jeff Ganoung said. “Yes, you have to make a profit. We’re a place to give young people an opportunity to learn something and make some money. I have no problem with making money, but it shouldn’t be only about making money.
“Business is a game and money is the way that you keep score. So keeping score is important, but you should never confuse the score with the game. The game is the game and you need to run that the best way that you can. Be honorable with people, make the best product that you can, be generous with people. Yes, you’ve got to keep track of the score, but never run the business looking at the score or you lose track of the game.”