At a recent Gilbert Town Council meeting, Mayor Jenn Daniels presented the seventh annual 12k’s of Christmas “Spirit of Giving” award to Gail Majors.

Sponsored by Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, the award recognizes volunteers in the community who give their time and resources to help animals. Majors has dedicated her efforts to helping kittens.

Majors takes in kittens from Maricopa County Animal Care & Control, many just days old, starving, ill or injured, and fosters them. She cares for them until they are big and strong enough to find a forever family.

Some are so tiny that they need to be bottle-fed, while others need special medicine. She provides their necessities such as food, medicine, litter and toys to help them flourish. She trains them to use the litter box and helps socialize them, even involving her neighbors, which sometimes leads them to adopt the kittens.

Majors also involves her neighborhood kids in the creatures’ lives. This helps the kittens learn how to become loving pets, while the children learn that pets are not disposable.

To smooth the adoption process, Majors creates an introduction card for each kitten that describes its personality and preferences—a great way to introduce them to their permanent families.

Since 2008, Majors has cared for 178 kittens, and the majority has been saved so they can be adopted. She has also been able to engage other organizations to help the animal control agency; for example, a Bunco group adopted it as its charity of choice for Christmas in 2015.

“Mayors claims that she is just a small cog in a big wheel. But we see her as one who has really made a difference not to just the lives of these helpless kittens, but in her community,” said Kathleen Toupkin of FieldWorks Events & Marketing Inc., which organizes the 12k’s of Christmas event.

The annual December celebration features a large pet adoption feature, and incorporates the participation of about 20 animal rescue groups.