Richard & Nathalie Woodbury Philanthropy Award - Jerry Marchand

Stewardship is defined as sharing time, talent, and treasure with an organization. Jerry Marchand checks off these three boxes many times over.

Thirteen years ago, Jerry made a promise to his beloved cat, Little Bit, as she lay dying in his arms, “Because of you, other kitties will have a chance at living and finding a home.”  Keeping that promise, Jerry recently fostered his 600th cat, Piko, an orange and brown torbie, and her three kittens who stayed with Jerry for nearly two months. He often takes on the most challenging cats and kittens: orphaned “bottle babies,” those with severe diarrhea, and those who can’t hold down food, or put on weight. He hand-feeds them, often every couple of hours, and gives them fluids and medications. Jerry has even reconfigured his home to allow his own cats to be in their parts of the house and provide exclusive space for his fosters.

“It’s hard to believe how many lives Jerry has touched,” says Foster Care Coordinator Megan Tolpa. And it’s all in memory of Little Bit. He made her a promise, and man, has he kept it!  What an amazing legacy he has given her.”

Jerry also volunteers at the adoption center, doing enrichment with cats and kittens, including those in the Contagious Disease Ward, and training cats in 4-month rabies quarantines through the Cat Pawsative Program. He is also a volunteer taxi driver, transporting animals, food, and supplies around New England as needed. Large food donation available in Methuen? No problem! Jerry is on it.

Jerry is a member of Dakin’s Leadership Society. Leadership Society gifts are directed wherever they are needed most. These critical funds have an extraordinary impact on Dakin’s work and ability to operate core programs and services, including the Community Spay/Neuter Clinic, pet food aid, vaccine clinics, other public medical services, foster care, and much more.

Although as a foster volunteer, Jerry has access to Dakin’s food and supplies, he often opts to purchase premium brands at his own expense to help his tiny charges, leaving the adoption center’s supplies available for others. Jerry fills needs as he sees them. Is cat food running low? Jerry brings in several cases. Enrichment running out of peacock feathers? A new supply magically appears in Cloud Nine, the training room.

Jerry Marchand represents a level of volunteerism to which most of us can only aspire. And Little Bit? She lives on in the 600-plus cats who now live and thrive thanks to Jerry Marchand and his promise to her.