For more than a dozen years, St. Francis Society Animal Rescue has been working to place Tampa Bay's homeless dogs and cats with caring owners.
The all-volunteer and nonprofit organization is named after St. Francis of Assisi, who chose to live in poverty and care for animals. On Oct. 4, a blessing of animals is held in honor of St. Francis around the world.
Each year the society places more than 1,000 cats and dogs with new owners including some in Westchase.
Kristina Fazio, who works at Mi Bebe in Westchase, serves as the organization's board director and volunteer coordinator.
This year the society will host its first golf tournament on Saturday Dec. 15 at the Westchase Golf Club to raise funds for its operation.
Sandy Pulliam, golf tournament coordinator, spoke with Patch recently about the event and St. Francis Society Animal Rescue's mission.
Patch: What prompted St. Francis to host a golf tournament?
Pulliam: We decided to do the golf tournament in Westchase because the area is beautiful and a lot of our volunteers and adopted animal families are from the surrounding area. Also, a golf tournament is a relaxed fun way to raise money and anyone can attend. It's family friendly and you don't have to be a "golfer" to come out and play. It helps if you want to win the big prizes, but it's all for the animals so we just want you to have fun.
Patch: What will the money raised go for?
Pulliam: 100 percent of the profits will go to the medical care and adoption efforts of the St. Francis cats and dogs. St. Francis spends most of its money on the medical care. We spay and neuter all of our animals before they are even put up for adoption. Also, we are known for doing everything possible to save an animals life that a lot of other rescues would consider too high risk and put down. Our volunteers and vets put their hearts and souls into saving the lives of these lost animals and every penny we get goes into that.
Patch: How many animals do you think St. Francis helps on a yearly basis?
Pulliam: Last year St. Francis took in over 1,000 cats and dogs. We adopted out 755 cats and 62 dogs. Some of the cats and dogs we take in are still in foster homes but we do not give up on finding them forever homes.
Patch: What would you say to people in the community to make them want to attend this event?
Pulliam: If you love animals and want to help and you love golf, sign up to play some golf with us. You will get a nice breakfast some lunch and have a chance to win some really great prizes. We will also be having a silent auction where you can get some great gifts for the holidays. You will meet a lot of great fun and friendly people and have an amazing time.
To register for the golf tournament go to www.westchasegc.com/stfrancis
If you Go:
St. Francis First Annual Golf Tournament
When: Dec. 15 from 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: Westchase Golf Club, 11602 Golf Drive
For more information and to register go to www.westchasegc.com/stfrancis