You are reading

Astoria Cat Rescuer Raises $1,350 Selling Bernie Sanders Doll

Photo: Courtesy of Alexia Vullis

Feb. 2, 2021 By Christina Santucci

An Astoria cat rescuer raised more than $1,000 by raffling off a crocheted Bernie Sanders doll — with a cat and a throne added to his iconic inauguration outfit.

Alexia Vullis said when she saw memes of Sanders go viral, she asked her mother, Judith, to whip up a crochet version of the Vermont senator for a fundraiser.

“Let’s raffle off this hilarious rendition of [Sanders] ~ with not only a kitty cat in his arms, but apparently he’s the King of the 7 Kingdoms 👑,” an Instagram post read.

The raffle, which ended Jan. 29, raised a total of $1,350, and the money will help pay for surgeries for four cats, including a two-month-old kitten named Hope. Hope had only one eye when she was found in Corona about three weeks ago and is in need of eye surgery.

“Most of it will go to the eye surgery. That’s the most expensive,” Vullis said.

The procedure is currently scheduled for March and will involve the removal of Hope’s remaining glands in her eye socket–so that it does not become infected. Then the kitten’s eye will be sewn shut.

Hope is one of about 20 felines that Vullis currently has available for adoption.

Vullis, who owns a dog-walking and pet-sitting business called NYC Pet Nanny, said she started rescuing cats as part of a group about seven years ago and then started doing it on her own about three years later.

Most of her rescue work is in Astoria and Long Island City.

Hope

Vullis rescues and finds homes for friendly kittens and cats, and traps, neuters and returns (TNR) feral cats to the outdoors. Some of the felines also need costly medical care.

“My whole focus is really the community,” she said of her TNR work. “We are trying to fix all of the cats so there is not overpopulation.”

Vullis estimated that she has worked with more than 300 cats to date.

In addition to the Bernie Sanders doll, Vullis raffled off a Baby Yoda cat bed over the summer, hoping to capitalize on the viral trends to raise money for her work. “It’s important for me to catch the attention of people … so I can rescue more cats,” she said.

After her raffle, Vullis learned about another Sanders doll in Texas that brought in slightly more funds for a different cause. A crocheted creation from Texas raised more than $40,000 for Meals on Wheels when it was auctioned on Jan. 26 — the winning bid was just over $20,000, and eBay pledged to match that amount.

Judith Vullis has since made two more Bernie dolls, and is selling them on eBay.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the big game in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.