Extraordinary People: Couple’s “date night” helps animals

Extraordinary People

Don Gress laughs when he says, “To be honest, if I didn’t like animals, I wouldn’t have even gotten a second date.” His wife Jill Gress laughs when she agrees, “nope.”

The Gress’ marriage is only strengthened by their mutual love of animals, and they have a soft spot for the ones at Lollypop Farm.

Don tells News 8, “We love Lollypop, we’ve adopted animals from here for years and we just decided, if we’re going to get out of the house, let’s do this and we can do it together.”

What started as a way to get out of the house sometimes, quickly became a regular thing. 

“We both work full time, and we don’t see each other much because I travel for work, so we decided, ‘let’s find something that gives back to the community’ and that’s how we started our date night on Friday’s with all the lovely cats,” Jill remembers. 

“I always call it selfish volunteering because you’re doing something good but it’s a lot of fun. Lollypop really needs volunteers to do a lot of the work,” Don adds.

They admit that once in a while, their volunteer and foster work, turns into an adoption. They continue to add to the list of animals they’ve brought home.

Alice Calabrese, Lollypop Farm’s President & C.E.O. says, “You can just see it in their actions and attitude that it really means a lot to them to be able to do this together, and that’s what makes them extraordinary.”

Yes they do go out afterwards, but for a few hours, their time together is spent benefitting others. They recommend it to other couples as well.

Jill advises, “You have to find something that excites both of you, that you have a passion for, whether it’s working with animals, whether it’s helping children read, or if it’s helping a woman who’s in a horrible situation get out of that situation, you can find something that’s passionate for both.”

Lollypop Farm is now encouraging other couples to volunteer for date night, as a way to fall in love again with one-another, and hopefully an animal or two. 

To learn more about how you can help, visit their website by clicking here

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