Iverson donates to Circle of Friends instead of collecting birthday gifts

When Maggie Iverson first started thinking about what kind of party she wanted for her eighth birthday, she knew she wanted it to be big and able to share it with all her classmates from both local schools.

Iverson donation

Posted on 4/2/16

By Melissa Anderson

A party that size needs a large venue and easy entertainment which made the Roxy a great choice but left room for something more.

“With that in mind I offered the suggestion of asking for donations for presents for animals at the Humane Society,” Carissa Iverson, Maggie Iverson’s mother, said.

Maggie, a natural animal lover, jumped at the idea of helping animals. By using her birthday party as a way of getting much needed supplies for the animals and the staff that cares for them at the Circle of Friends Humane Society in Grand Forks.

“They [the animals] don’t have homes, and that is sad.,” Maggie said,” The Humane Society tries to get the animals homes because it is just sad to have no humans to care and love them.”

Iverson follows several different shelters located in North Dakota through Facebook. Circle of Friends Humane Society was the obvious choice for the donation as the Iversons were familiar with the shelter and the work they do. The proximity of the shelter was an additional consideration as the Iversons could easily transport the items there.

“We could give all the donations to the shelter easily, and they accept all types of animals. Since we have a variety of animals ourselves, it was a natural fit,” Iverson said.

As part of the family, Maggie helps care for two horses, three dogs, one cat, two bunnies and goldfish. Iverson explained that Maggie has a natural love of animals and has a cat named Howard that sleeps with her at night.

“If they are not  together, they both fuss,” Iverson said.

The Iversons have a long history of helping animals and with the Circle of Friends Humane Society. The Iverson family adopted a beloved dog from the Circle of Friends Humane Society in 2002.

“We got him well before Maggie was born, but he passed away at age 14 last June,” Iverson shared, “We all miss him, and this also is why we wanted to give to Circle of Friends.”

The Iversons have acquired their mangier of animals in many different ways such as people looking to re home their pets through Facebook.

“That’s where we acquired our current dog, Shadow, just two weeks ago,” Iverson said.

Maggie’s cat, Howard, was found out in the woods by a neighbor who thought she might be a cat the Iversons had lost but kept her when their lost cat didn’t come back, naming her Howard in honor of the owner of the cabin where she was found.

“She [Howard] sure was a blessing to Maggie,” Iverson said.

As the Iversons planned Maggie’s party, they did some research of what the Circle of Friends was most in need of and how they could get that information to guests attending the party. The shelter had a donation wish list, which Iverson saved and edited to fit onto Maggie’s invitations.

“To be honest, I didn’t think we would get that many donations. I didn’t know what to expect from parents prior to the party,” Iverson said.

Maggie and the rest of her family were in for a surprise however, as the party attendees and parents delivered the goods that were much needed by the shelter.

“The response was so wonderful. I received so many wonderful text messages and positive responses,” Iverson said.

Maggie used laundry baskets she planned to donate to collect the items and put a sign on them that read ‘Pet Presents’. As the guests arrived, the two laundry baskets quickly began to fill up.

“The parents in Langdon went above and beyond all the expectations we had,” Iverson said.

Iverson, who was only  expecting to collect about a grocery bag amount of items and maybe a bag of dog food, learned just how willing the kids and parents were to help as they came with birthday bags and cards. The children were all very curious to see what had been given as ‘pet presents’.

“They all wanted to know what was in the bags just as much as a ‘regular’ present. It was very touching,” Iverson said.

Overall, Maggie received 48 items, filling both laundry baskets, and $45 that was all donated to the Circle of Friends Humane Society on March 24. Some of the items that were donated were dog and cat food, cleaning supplies, office supplies, toys, treats, training pads, and blankets for the animals in the shelter.

“All this from a little birthday party,” Maggie stated.

“Maggie is just so excited that the animals at Circle of Friends will find a home with a kid to love them,” Iverson added.

Maggie has plans to continue helping animals through volunteering at Circle of Friends in the short-term and has a long-term goal of someday treating animals in need.

“She wants to be a vet and work with animals and help them when they are sick,” Iverson shared, “She also wants to train horses since she loves horses, too.”

For Iverson and husband, Jon, they couldn’t be prouder of their daughter for being so giving to the shelter. They love that she is wanting to volunteer at such a young age at the shelter.

Children wishing to volunteer have to be eleven in order to work at Circle of Friends. Circle of Friends does offer educational classes for those younger kids that want to learn how to help, which the Iversons are planning to take Maggie to.

“She is so excited to learn about new animals,” Iverson said.

Circle of Friends Humane Society of Grand Forks is not affilitated with any national organizations and is dependent upon donations like Maggie’s.

If you wish to donate to the Circle of Friends Humane Society, you can do so online, by mail, or in person.

Circle of Friends Humane Society is located at:

4375 N. Washington St.

Grand Forks, ND 58203

For more information on how to donate or questions, please call 701-775-3732 or e-mail

The shelter is open Tuesday through Sunday from Noon to 6 p.m.t