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Weight Watchers groups donate 1,200 pounds for pets

By Vicki Wingate
Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006

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Sanford, NC - It had to be one of the stranger twists on an old, familiar proverb: One man's loss is another man's gain.

In this case, one group's weight loss is another creature's gain.

Weight Watchers groups in Sanford, Pittsboro and Siler City teamed up earlier this month to contribute more than 1,200 pounds of pet food and animal care items to area animal shelters.

Contributions were split between the Chatham County Animal Shelter and the Sanford-based Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption.

"Pounds for Pounds," the public service project designed to care for neglected animals, unfolded in an unexpected way. It grew from an educational device used to help group members get a visual picture of weight and appreciate how heavy just a few pounds can feel.

The plan: Have members donate in pet food the number of pounds they have already shed.

"When people lose weight gradually, it's hard to remember how that extra weight felt," said Vicki Wingate, who leads all three meetings and devised the plan. "Losing 10 or 20 pounds might not seem like all that much - until you try to carry that weight around with you all over again.

"That's when it hits you."

The point was particularly poignant for some longtime members who have dropped 70, 100 or even 190 pounds, and literally couldn't carry the amount of weight they had already lost. And just seeing how all the shed pounds translated into large bags scattered around the meeting rooms made quite an impression.

"Every time someone came in carrying bags," Wingate said, "there was another gasp in the room."

Though the project's true beneficiaries - those living back at the shelter - couldn't comment, Gail Foushee did. As treasurer of CARA in Sanford, she was thrilled with the contribution and what it means for animals living at the shelter.

"We were amazed at the amount of food and litter, and it's all something we can use," Foushee said, describing how staff members had to call in a truck to move the hefty donation.

"It's such a huge blessing for us, because we're having to buy all of this out of pocket," she said. "Now, we can use that money to provide medical care and do other things to help our animals."

For information about making donations to CARA, call the group's adoption center at 919-774-9433 or visit the Web site at

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