1:46 PM PST, January 6, 2022
The #BettyWhiteChallenge hashtag has gone viral in the days after the star’s sudden passing on New Year’s Eve with people wanting to donate to animal shelters in her honor.
The goal is to donate $5 to an animal shelter or rescue in her name on her birthday, Yahoo! reported.
White’s birthday is January 17, and the star was preparing for it before she passed away from natural causes.
The viral campaign started after Ryan Reynolds eulogized White on Twitter and a user named Lisa Powell wrote, “Let’s all donate something to your local animal shelter on Betty’s birthday on January 17th in her honor! It’s the least we can do to still celebrate & honor Betty’s love of animals!! #RIPBetty #BettyWhite #ripbettywhite #BettyWhiteChallenge #BettyWhiteDay,” according to CBS News.
While it remains unclear if Powell came up with the challenge, it seemed to spread to others who said they would help.
Many tweets from users saying, “what a great idea,” “I am in!” Many shelters started tweeting for donations if people were looking for a place to honor White.
“THINK of all the animals we would help. I’m IN! Please pass this on,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Betty White was an animal advocate all her life. If all of Betty’s fans donated just $3.00 to an animal rescue, imagine how many animals would be saved in honor of Betty White,” another tweeted.
The Nebraska Humanin Society wrote “NHS is taking part in the #BettyWhiteChallenge in a unique way – we’re engraving a brick that will sit outside the shelter in her memory. Betty was a wonderful person who advocated for animals at every turn, and we think this is a great way to honor her.”
White was a well-documented animal lover. In 2011 she admitted to Katie Couric that she liked “animals more than people.”
White was a volunteer and board member of American Humane, the first national humane organization in the U.S. and the largest certifier of animal welfare in the world, and supported “No Animals Were Harmed” campaign, CBS News reported.
In 2011, she wrote the children’s book, “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo.” She also helped open the Los Angeles Zoo in 1966 and was at events for the Columbus Zoo over the years. She hosted the syndicated show “The Pet Set” in 1977, in which she had fun with her famous friends around animals. It has recently been released for streaming.