Kathy Maxwell remembers walking down the cement hallways lined with cages in the heat of the summer in 2003. The warmth is unbearable for a few seconds until the fan turns in her direction. In the original building on North Rochester Road there was no heating or air conditioning, so when it was hot Helping Hands Humane Society (HHHS) relied on local donations of ice which they loaded into wheel barrels and set in front of oscillating fans to cool the animals and employees.
Fast forward to today. The electricity bill in the new facility at 21st St. & Belle Ave. can be over $10,000 per month during the summer. In a converted Dillon’s grocery store, the community celebrated HHHS’s move out of the old, dilapidated building in January of 2013. Today, Maxwell walks the aisles of the new building which houses an average of 350 animals with another 75 in foster homes. She’ll be overseeing the transfer of roughly 400 animals each year who are driven by volunteers and staff to partnering animal rescues and humane societies across the country as part of a dedicated effort to find homes for animals in need. Digital television monitors in the lobby, donated by a local supporter, flash colorful photos of the animals available for adoption. It’s a whole new world compared to where they came from, celebrating 81 years in 2019, as the Northeast Kansas Animal Resource Center.
Maxwell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Washburn University and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Kansas State University. Her relationship with HHHS began when she was hired in 2002. During her tenure she has held several positions including Adoption Counselor, Special Events Coordinator, Director of Business Affairs and Adoption Services, and Director of Administration. At one point, Maxwell left HHHS to pursue a career elsewhere, but returned shortly after to follow her heart.
“Since I began working at HHHS, many things have changed, but one thing has always remained the same: the organization’s mission to help animals. The shelter serves a large community of homeless pets, and I consider myself lucky to have been a part of that service and to have the opportunity to further our mission. I am excited to continue working with the shelter’s amazing staff and volunteers to improve the lives of animals in our community,” says Maxwell.
It’s this love of animals and sincere commitment to the community that makes Maxwell the ideal Executive Director for HHHS. The Board of Directors states, “We are thrilled that Kathy has accepted the position as Executive Director of Helping Hands Humane Society. Kathy has been an indispensable member of the team since 2002 and has been essential to our growth and progression over the years. Her dedication to the organization, the animals and our community has been incredible, and the Board looks forward to having Kathy at the helm as she directs Helping Hands to new heights.”
CAPITAL CITY PET FESTIVAL
One of HHHS’s most popular events has been Paws in the Park, which is now called Capital City Pet Festival. It will be held on Saturday April 6, 2019, beginning at 10 am, and will be held on-site at 5720 SW 21st St. The event features dozens of vendors, pet contests, lots of local food, and much more. The event helps raise much needed funds to adequately care for the 6,000+ homeless pets admitted to the shelter each year.
For more information, call HHHS at (785) 233-7325, or visit them at 5720 SW 21st St. Adoption Hours are Monday – Saturday, 11:30 am – 6:00 pm, and Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm. You can also find out more at www.hhhstopeka.org or www.facebook.com/hhhstopeka.