RED Day Shelter Makeover provided by Keller Williams

Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011

For Amber, HELP and the cats, ‘no’ isn’t going to fly

By Allen Edmonds, The Star Herald

It’s a good thing Amber Branson rarely takes “no” for an answer.

“Nobody’s saying no,” she said. “Everybody has a soft spot for animals.”

The Belton woman’s latest mission comes as a result of her husband’s sales position with Keller Williams Realty. Lonnie Branson joined the firm a couple of years back, and Amber watched as local agents rallied on “RED Day” to gather volunteers and supplies to spruce up Belton’s Head Start headquarters.

The name of the annual May event, a staple for Keller Williams offices nationwide, represents “Renew, Energize and Donate.” Each year, on the second Thursday of May, tens of thousands of Keller Williams associates from across the United States and Canada take the day off, devoting their time to a wide range of projects, renewing and energizing aspects of the neighborhoods in which they work and live.

So for this year’s project, set for May 12, the company’s new KW Cares Charity Coordinator directed her energy toward what she saw as the most immediate need.

Belton’s HELP Humane Society, 511 Main, can use all the help it can get, she said. “A lot of people don’t even know it’s there. They don’t get help from the (national) Humane Society – it seems like they don’t get regular help from anyone. Everything they accomplish is based on individuals doing what they can.”

And with her love for cats, the choice was a natural once she was put in charge of organizing RED Day on a local basis.

With project day more than two months away, there’s more than enough preparation needed to ensure the commitment’s success, she said. To that end, she has lined up local businesses to donate supplies, skilled labor and cash, and is seeking more.

“Tom O’Connor with Carpet-for-Less is re-doing 20 cat trees. I don’t think people realize what’s involved in that – carpeting 20 structures that look like jungle gyms.”

In addition, she has lined up the cleaning service she uses for the rental units she operates, Brenda Maddox; construction services and supplies from C&M Builders; a plumber, Brian Williams; and an electrician, Mike Godsell.

Cash donations have come from such sources as Matt Davidson of State Farm Insurance in Raymore and Bryan Mallory of Country Club Bank in Raymore.

And she’s still seeking more, not only from businesses, but from individuals. “We could use Home Depot gift cards – $5 at a time would really help,” she said. “Scoopable cat litter, all kinds of supplies to keep them going.”

She said donors need to be conscious of the types of supplies that are provided, and the society’s Website ( contains a list of the products that are in constant need. “We need to remember that some of the cats that live there spend their entire lives there. Our goal is to give them a comfortable life. This is truly a no-kill shelter.”

Uncaged, the cats roam free throughout most of the facility, sleep in their chosen favorite spots and climb the cat trees.

Directed by Cindi Dill, the shelter established itself at its current location in 2005, and houses dozens of cats and kittens.

Branson can be reached at 816-830-8661, or by email at



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