March-April 2020

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90  M A R C H /A P R I L 2 0 2 0 | U N TAC K E D network so people could find each other. It wasn't long before I realized that I had thousands and thousands of people signed up who wanted to help. When you have that many people, you need to put them to work for everything you can! We started helping to place horses that were at risk. We started doing all kinds of things, on a national scale, but not hundreds of horses at a time [like with the Hallelujah Horses case]." In 2015, the organization officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and it earned the ASPCA's inaugural Equine Welfare Award in 2018. Today FOA has an estimated 12,000 volunteers nationwide, with a website and Facebook pages that connect people in need of transport, hay banks or other assistance with those who can help. They created a new project, the National Equine Emergency Directory, following logistical issues post-Hurricane Dorian in 2019. The FOA volunteer forms asked if people could help during natural disasters, but the mapping system didn't show who was available to help in which areas. NEED was designed to make it easy for people to find those who could evacuate or stable horses online—and quickly. Today, aside from Nash's full-time efforts with the organization, FOA runs on volunteer power. "We accept everyone's offer to help," Nash says, emphasizing that volunteers aren't on-call or required to help. "If you're not available, just say 'I'm sorry, I can't help this time.' We don't keep score." Next Nash hopes to find a website developer who can create a better database or mobile app to make services even more easily accessible, and the funds to pay for that work. She's also hoping to find sponsors and patrons who can contribute additional funds, but she emphasizes there are many ways to help besides donations. "Our core mission is to help get at- risk horses out of problem situations and into good lifetime homes," she says. "We're like a small mom-and- pop shop operation suddenly being in demand all over America. We're like an emergency room with one doctor, and the emergency room never closes. We have to make this next big step financially and structurally to handle everything we're being asked to do." CHARITY SPOTLIGHT While Fleet Of Angels is best known for its work during the Hallelujah Horses case, the organization is now stepping up to help after natural disasters all across the country. Learn more about Fleet Of Angels, donate or volunteer to help at fleetofangels.org.

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