Animals, children and veterans. Those are the issues that speak to Sharon George.
She started the Sha’nini George Foundation to honor her great-grandmother and the principles she lived by — hard work, compassion, doing the right thing even when it is hard.
Sha’nini George was one of the survivors of the Titanic in 1912 — one of the last to get into a life boat to escape the sinking ship.
“She barely survived,” George said.
George says her grandmother was a rare combination — strong when she needed to be and gentle always.
But it was the hard work that she and her family put into creating the Joy Cone Co. that made it possible for Sharon George to do something she thinks her great-grandmother would be proud of — give back.
And that is why she is sponsoring and planning a special benefit for one of those groups she says needs support — animals.
The funds from the Sha’nini George Foundation Benefit will go to Advocates of Animals United, specifically the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter, Tails of Hope Spay and Neuter Clinic (in operation at the Thomas M. O’Brien Animal Care Clinic) and the newly formed Animal Protection League of Western PA.
And for those who love animals, the Aug. 17 event will be the chance to support an important cause — taking care of the area’s abused, neglected and unwanted pets — while enjoying an evening of gourmet food and fun.
The event will be held from 4 to 11 p.m. at George’s country estate at 222 Line Road, north of Mercer.
In addition to a menu of expertly prepared barbecue food and wood-fire pizzas, George says visitors will enjoy a special compliment to the meal.
“All the sides are coming straight from my garden,” she said.
Premium wine and beer are included in the ticket price.
And when they are finished with their main meal, attendees can then enjoy treats from Handel’s Ice Cream — in Joy Cone waffle bowls, George said.
But eating is not the only reason to make a trip to the benefit.
There will be a 10-piece Pittsburgh-based band as well as walk-around magic by T.J. Hill.
You can even play a game of corn hole, George said.
And then there is the beautiful, peaceful venue itself.
“It will be a pretty, bucolic setting,” she said. “They will be able to relax and really enjoy themselves.”
But it is a benefit, so bring your checkbook — there will be an auction, too.
George said there are a variety of items ready for bids, including sports memorabilia items from the Pittsburgh Steelers and 100,000 frequent flyer miles.
There will be other auction items, including designer purses and jewelry.
The purpose of the event is to raise money to assist in the effort to build a new animal shelter in Mercer County and to support animal rescue and spay and neutering programs.
George said the cause is very important to her — and part of her mission with the Sha’nini George Foundation — to speak for and to advocate for those who cannot or do not speak for themselves.
“Veterans, children and animals — they are my passion,” she said.
And once again, George will honor her great-grandmother, both as a survivor and as an immigrant who came to a new country to start a new life.
She salutes all those, she said, who took that chance.
“I have a particular affection for early 20th century immigrants,” she said. “They came here and worked hard. We are reaping the benefits.”
Presenting sponsors for the event are the Joy Cone Co. and the Community Foundation of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.
George said 100 percent of the profits will go to the animal groups.
TICKETS FOR the benefit are $75 and are available online at sgfaau.eventbrite.com.