If Ken McBride sported a Santa’s hat and white beard, Jayne Nelson would believe the Langley man to be St. Nicholas.
Even without the red and white clothing and facial hair, part of her suspects McBride has some special magical powers.
The Walnut Grove resident definitely helped make her Christmas wishes come true, when he presented Nelson with his latest instalment of loose coin.
“Ken is an incredible example of how one person truly can make a difference,” said Nelson, the acting executive director of the Langley Animal Protection Society.
“Ken has helped so many animals and we are incredibly grateful to him for his dedication and kindness,” Nelson said, praising his dedication to the animals and the shelter.
McBride, a 72-year-old retired warehouse worker, started volunteering for LAPS a dozen years ago, walking shelter dogs a few days a week to ward off depression.
Six months in, he wanted to do more to help the animal shelter and pitched an idea to then executive director Sean Baker.
He suggested distributing collection cans to businesses around town that would encourage people to part with their spare change for the sake of the animals.
“I must admit that my initial reaction was not entirely positive,” Baker previously told the Langley Advance.
“I had been approached by others in the past with great ideas, but that was all they were willing to contribute. They had the ideas and wanted me to do the work. But my mood quickly changed when [McBride] said the magical words that any manager loves to hear ‘I will do all the work’,” Baker added.
McBride offered to organize the cans and “pound the pavement” to promote the cause.
“So, with nothing to lose, I agreed to his idea, shook his hand, and wished him the best of luck. And, as he left my office, I did not expect to see him again,” Baker explained.
One month later, he was back in the LAPS office with $500.
“I didn’t know what to say,” Baker said.
Since that first month, the dollar value gradually increased.
In recent years, he would show up with eight crisp $100 bills per month.
This year, he’s been presenting Nelson with about $1,450 per month each month, and is credited with raising more than $102,000 since conceiving of this idea.
“We are very grateful to the community for donating to the boxes,” Nelson said, “and to Ken for creating and managing the program… $100,000 is a lot of coin!”
McBride said monitoring and collecting coin from 40 donation boxes, and rolling of the coins takes about 24 hours a week – equivalent to a part-time job for the volunteer.
In the early days, he collected about $200 to $300 a month, and his goal of raising a quarter million dollars for the shelter seemed a little out of reach.
Now, he figures that goal is attainable within the next 10 to 15 years.
“I’m prepared for it,” he said, saying it’s the shelter staff, the volunteers, and all the work the LAPS team does to care for local animals that makes his efforts so successful.
“I believe this is my calling in life. I believe I was meant to do this,” he added, grateful the community for donating.
“There are an awful lot of animal lovers in this world,” McBride said, also expressing thanks to all the grocery stores and businesses that let him place donation cans in their shops.
“Ken is an amazing man. He is a thoughtful and kind,” said Nelson, who noted that two years ago McBride was given LAPS’ Lifetime Fundraiser Award for all that he efforts.
“It is hard to imagine the impact that dropping a few coins into the coin box at your local grocery store would have on an organization like LAPS. This kind of money has a huge impact on LAPS’s ability to provide much needed medical care and special programs to the more than 1,400 animals that come to us for help each year,” Nelson said.
“I am humbled by how generous people are with their time, talent and resources! It shows that no matter how small the amount you give, when a lot of people give even a little… combined it can have a huge impact. In this case a huge impact on helping LAPS provide second chances to lost, forgotten, and unwanted animals in Langley.”
She described McBride as “an incredible example of how one person truly can make a difference. Ken has helped so many animals and we are incredibly grateful to him for his dedication and kindness.”