Rachael Ray's large donation to needy pets

Nov 23, 2010 at 4:20 p.m. ET

Food Network star Rachael Ray is putting her fame to good use by donating $775,000 to needy pets.

Rachael Ray and husband with dog

Rachael Ray is helping out needy pets by donating 100-percent of proceeds from her Nutrish and Just 6 pet food lines to animal shelters around the nation. She plans on giving away $775,000 before December 31, 2010!

Ray and her husband have a pit bull pup Isaboo and she hopes to raise awareness for her cause.

Helping pets in need

"My husband and I can sleep at night knowing that our small space is probably wrong for a lot of animals, but we can maybe inspire people [who have space] to bring a lot of animals home," she tells People. "It's us trying to problem-solve that very discussion, 'Why can't we do more?'"

Ray, currently out promoting her new cookbook Look + Cook, said the economic downturn has hit animals hard.

"If you want to look at the state of humans, you should look at the state of animals first," she said. "People are choosing whether or not they can feed an animal and their family. And every shelter coast-to-coast is stuffed."

Ray says she also sponsors pop-up adoption events. "We only give to no-kill shelters. But we give to small and large; no one's excluded. We want to keep as many animals alive as possible."

How you can help

Ray hopes this donation will help families as much as it helps pets. "It's a constant stream of income, and a source of relief for people that are exhausted, trying to care for their own families and care for animals," she says.

Ray says there are other ways to help, even if you can't adopt an animal. "When you're out grocery shopping for your family, maybe you can put a can of cat or dog food in your cart and bring it to an animal relief center. Maybe you can take your kids by [a shelter] and have them donate something basic. If you can give one or two dollars, or even 10 dollars, to charity, it's a great step."

Check out RachaelsRescue.org for more information.

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