Like most animal lovers and pet owners, Bordentown resident and MKRts&Crafts owner Maria Roswell is a big supporter of animal shelters.
Her dog, Barkley, is a rescue himself.
The late great actress Betty White was also a big animal lover and huge supporter of different animal welfare organizations and charities during her time.
“Devastated” when she heard the news on Dec. 31 that White had passed away, Roswell knew she wanted to honor the legendary actress in some way.
That’s when Roswell, with the help of Bordentown City resident Brenna Jobes, came up with the idea to honor the recent passing of White by showcasing her love for animals.
To commemorate White’s 100th birthday, which would have been on Jan. 17, Roswell and Jobes created a special fundraiser to support two local animal shelters.
The Betty White Fundraiser consisted of personalized pet ornaments made by Roswell for customers with all the proceeds going towards Bordentown City Cats and It’s a Ruff Life Rescue in nearby Hamilton.
“Betty White was a huge animal lover and advocate and we thought this would be a great way to honor her,” Roswell said. “Everyone around here loves pets.”
Roswell used her skills as an pyrography artist to create personalized wooden dog bones or cat silhouettes for customers.
She made the ornaments at the Handmade Arts Studio in Hightstown, which is owned and operated by Bordentown resident Mark Fenton.
Each ornament cost $18 and was customized with a pet’s name and the iconic slogan “Thank you for being a friend” from the television show “The Golden Girls,” where White is famously remembered for playing the character Rose Nylund.
A picture of White was also included on the back of the ornament.
“The Golden Girls” is an all-time favorite of Roswell’s.
“I loved the show,” Roswell said. “I always remember watching it with my grandma. I’m so happy to be doing this in honor of Betty.”
The fundraiser continued from Jan. 13-17. Because of the onslaught of ornament requests by local residents, Roswell extended the fundraiser to 3 p.m. on Jan. 19.
As of Jan. 18, Roswell had 105 total orders and had raised around $1,890.
“It spread like wildfire,” Roswell said. “I personally hoped we would sell 100. [I’m] thrilled that we got to 100.”
Roswell ended up making 122 total pet ornaments and raised $1,300 for each pet shelter in seven days. She even had five out of state orders from South Carolina.
Last year, Roswell sold more than 100 Clara Barton ornaments to help the Bordentown Historical Society raise money to make upgrades to the Clara Barton Schoolhouse.
Roswell moved to the Bordentown area five years ago and since 2019 has devoted her time fully to running MKRts&Crafts.
All of Roswell’s work is sold online worldwide and at local businesses in the area, like Mimosa Goods in Bordentown.
Roswell couldn’t say more about the support she has gotten from the Bordentown community during her time in the area. She credits the Bordentown community for helping her “thrive” during the pandemic and adds that the community does a great job supporting all local small businesses.
As a big fan of White, Roswell said she is proud she was able to honor the late actress by helping animals in need and plans on continuing to do so in the future.
“We’ve talked about making this an annual thing,” Roswell said. “We may create different crafts and support different organizations, but it will always be in the name of Betty White.”
To find out more about MRKts&Crafts, visit www.mkrtsandcrafts.com.