Hay Banks in the Running for Refreshment

Nothing refreshes better on a hot summer day than a long, cool drink of water. Although water is the logical choice for horses, many horse rescue organizations are turning to Pepsi. However, rather than thirst, Pepsi is helping quench the sting of the current economy with it's Refresh Project.

Besides being the official beverage supplier for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Pepsi-Cola may soon be involved with the horse industry another way: as a philanthropist. This year, Pepsi is giving away up to $1.3 million in grants each month to 32 groups or individuals whose ideas on helping others receive the most votes. The Pepsi Refresh Project is open to all U.S. citizens over 13 years of age with an idea that will positively impact an American community within a year's time.

Pepsi's monthly limit of 1,000 grant applications is often reached long before the 15-day application period expires. This hurdle required some speedy registration skills on the part of Paula Carver, president and founder of a Florida-based group, Helpers, Organizing, Rescue, Service, Education Inc. (HORSE).

Carver said it took more than two months to secure a spot the contest. "I had to stay up until midnight and try to click the idea in," she said. "At 12:04 it said, 'We're sorry, we already have 1,000 ideas. You’ll have to try again next month.'"

Carver did not give up there, however; the next month the submission was accepted, and this month HORSE is in the running for one of 10 chances for a $25,000 grant. If HORSE wins the grant, Carver hopes to fund the organization's hay bank, which helps unemployed horse owners in Florida feed their animals. A hay bank works like a food bank: owners lacking sufficient funds for feed can apply for enough hay to keep their animals in good health, typically up to a month. HORSE has been receiving more requests than it can accommodate, and Carver said with anticipated layoffs ahead at Kennedy Space Center, she imagines things will only get worse. To find out more about HORSE, visit its website at www.horseincorp.org.

Several other horse-related organizations are also in the running for this month's Pepsi Refresh Project grants to fund hay banks. In its application for this month's $50,000 grant, The South Carolina Awareness and Rescue for Equines (SCARE) organization submitted a budget that includes over $35,000 just for the purchase of hay and grain. The rest of the award would fund various construction projects, including a storage shed and quarantine area, along with the purchase of a horse trailer. Find more information at www.scequinerescue.org.

Wells River Equine Rescue is also in the running for one of the $50,000 Pepsi grants; the Groton, Vermont-based organization hopes to start the state's first hay bank, aiming to buy local hay if it wins the award. Contact Dawn Pinette at dawnpinette@yahoo.com for more information regarding Wells River.

To vote for any of these or other refreshing ideas, visit the Pepsi Refresh Project online at www.refresheverything.com. Each registered user may vote for up to 10 ideas every day.

About the Author

Courtney LeMay, Editorial Intern

Courtney LeMay was editorial intern for The Horse for the summer of 2010. She attends Asbury Univeristy, planning to graduate in 2013 with a double major in Journalism and Media Communications. She is currently the senior staff features writer for her school paper, the Asbury Collegian, as well as a member of the swim team.

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