Whatley initially began this partnership as a project for her Girl Scout Gold Award, but part of her idea originated closer to home.
“I began making pimento cheese last year to raise money to feed essential workers in memory care facilities. My grandmother passed away at the beginning of the pandemic while living in one of these facilities. In providing meals for these workers, I was able to talk about my grandmother and share with them all of my memories of her,” Whatley shared. “My pimento cheese was such a hit that people still ask for it and I’m continuing to make ‘Carolyn’s Pimento Gold’ to fund my current project.”
Carolyn’s Pimento Gold allows Whatley to fund the animals’ transportation, sponsor spay and neuter clinics in both of her homes of North Carolina and St. Croix, and gather necessary supplies. Additionally, she creates important relationships with shelters in North Carolina to accept animal transfers, raises awareness of the dire need these animals face, and shares her time.
“My favorite aspect of this experience is definitely when I go to the adoption center to help care for the animals who are ready for homes. They all have very different personalities, but they all want to be played with and cuddled. That makes my day!” Whatley said. “I’ve always connected with animals and I’ve been lucky to have had many different types of pets to love. Most days I can be found at the Chatham Hall barn with the horses. They help me when days are stressful or overwhelming.”
Throughout her experience, Whatley has drawn on the many skills she’s learned in life so far, including during her time at Chatham Hall.
“Chatham Hall has helped me so much in finding my voice, trusting my ideas, and being able to share these ideas through my increased self-esteem that has come with the help of such a caring, powerful, and inspiring school. It really comes in handy as I interact with many people at the shelter and in the field. I’m becoming better and braver in speaking to people about the animals and my endeavors.”
Whatley will work at the shelter over the summer, including in their mobile care clinic which visits neighborhoods to offer free veterinary services to pets whose owners love them, but are unable to afford their care. In addition to dogs and cats, the shelter also serves rabbits, lizards, and even turtles!
Whatley is currently seeking donations of necessary items, including collapsible pet carriers, leashes, harnesses, toys, and pet pads. Faculty and students that would like to donate items can email her directly.
Way to go, Carolyn!