Student’s spring break fundraiser helps out area animal shelter


Friends Gigi Ross, left, and Cecelia Pope held a bake sale during spring break.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of Michele Ross

During spring break, 10-year-old Gigi Ross’s mom, Michele Ross, had big plans for a fun-filled week in the Florida Keys for her daughter.  Then, her mom broke her ankle and the plans had to be canceled.

With a week of vacation ahead of her, Gigi Ross wanted to make good use of her time. After talking to her mom, she decided to have a bake sale and use the money for a charity.

“My daughter Gigi is passionate about animals, so she decided to use the animal rescue HALO in Sebastian as her charity,” Ross said. “She did her own research and decided she wanted to help out a no-kill animal shelter that relies on donations.”

Gigi’s friend Cecelia Pope was eager to help as the two girls set up their bake sale in Baytree, a subdivision in Suntree. A few people contributed homemade cookies to add to the girls’ baking effort. Together, they raised $153, which they contributed to HALO in Sebastian.

HALO stands for Helping Animals Live and Overcome and it claims to be the only no-kill shelter in Indian River County.

Although the shelter keeps busy with rescues in Indian River County, it also has rescued animals as far away as Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

Following Hurricane Maria, HALO was one of many organizations that rescued and sought homes for stray dogs and cats from Puerto Rico.

“We knew about HALO from Girl Scouts, we knew that is was a good organization,” Michele Ross said. “Gigi hopes to be a veterinarian, so she feels really good about helping their cause.”

Founded 13 years ago by Jacque Petrone, HALO’s mission is to reduce euthanasia, which they claim to have done by 82 percent, and rescue as many animals as they can each year.

For information about HALO, go to VV