Kimmy Chandler, Founder and President of FLUFF (From Lonely and Unloved to Forever Family) Animal Rescue in Seminole, Florida was presented with a Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment award and $10,000 grant on August 20, 2022.
Royal Neighbors Senior Member Engagement Specialist Darcy Smith presented the award and grant to Kimmy during a surprise visit to her home.
“We are inspired by Kimmy’s dedication to taking care of her community the way she does,” said Darcy. “Kimmy is actively living the Royal Neighbors mission by empowering women to serve their community and make it a healthier, safer environment for both the animals and their families.”
Kimmy has been caring for stray and resident animals as a display of her belief that “it is our job to care for God’s creatures.” In 2016, Kimmy was able to realize her full potential as a teacher and animal rescuer, and during an afternoon luncheon with her family, a nonprofit animal rescue was born.
Through community awareness, public assistance, education, and rescue-to-rehome, FLUFF Animal Rescue aims to address and confront animal overpopulation and shelter overcrowding. They provide homes to the homeless, food for the hungry, health and medical care to animals who are injured or sick.
FLUFF Animal Rescue, which is also a Royal Neighbors of America Chapter, has ten active Chapter Members and over 120 additional volunteers that clocked over 16,000 hours of volunteer work last year. “Since the core mission of FLUFF is to save lives and make a difference, I make it my mission to make a difference in the lives of everyone around me,” said Kimmy.
Royal Neighbors Chapter Leader Kelly McLaughlin nominated Kimmy for the award. “What makes FLUFF unique is that their volunteer team consists mostly of women and young girls,” said Kelly. “From single moms, female veterans, and retired women looking for a place to belong, to teenage girls who are starting in the workforce, Kimmy educates them on the core values of community, belonging, and aligning with a purpose greater than themselves.”
“I lost my husband suddenly in June of this year,” said Kimmy. “At the exact moment I felt like my life was stripped from me, I was uplifted and surrounded by people who believe in me and my vision. To say my life has changed would accurately describe every moment going forward since the day of recognition.”
The Nation of Neighbors grant will aid in allowing FLUFF Animal Rescue to build and operate a nonprofit veterinary clinic as well as a sanctuary for animals deemed ‘unadoptable’ or difficult to adopt. “This will provide numerous opportunities to enable her volunteers to grow in their relationships, community service, responsibility, and skills,” added Kelly.
“I am overwhelmed with joy that the mission can continue and even grow,” said Kimmy. “Thank you to Royal Neighbors for reminding me why we do what we do, and for helping me to see the importance of my vision to empower a nation of women, a nation of people, and a nation of our youth to stand up for what is right and keep up the good fight.”