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Eleven-year-old Mimi Ausland wanted to help homeless pets. So in 2008, she launched freekibble.com, a site where answering daily trivia questions (right or wrong) donates 10 pieces of kibble to animal shelters nationwide. Just in time for Be Kind to Animals Week, May 6-12, the now-16-year-old shares about how she got her start–plus how other kids can help our furry friends, too.

What inspired you to start freekibble.com, and later, freekibblekat.com? 
I realized the shelter where I volunteered in Bend, Oregon, was having trouble affording pet food. Then I saw freerice.com (a website that fights world hunger by donating rice for correctly answered trivia questions), and it inspired me to start a similar site for animals!

What obstacles did you face early on?
My parents and I designed the website, but we had to hire a programmer to build it. Local pet stores agreed to donate the food, but they soon couldn’t keep up. Fortunately, Halo pet food stepped in and is now our official sponsor.

Where do you get the daily trivia questions?
Books, magazines, the Internet, newspapers–anywhere we can find them!

What advice would you give to kids who want to help animals?
You’re never too young to help. Set up a lemonade stand or start a dog-walking business with your friends, and donate the proceeds. Also, find ideas at freekibblekids.com, my new site that helps kids help animals. Little things really do add up.

You’ve already accomplished so much at such a young age! What’s next?
So far, we’ve donated more than 5 million meals. I’m going for 5 million more!

Reprinted from KIWI Magazine

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