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Trash Panda, the Fulton County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency's (ESDA) feline mascot, often featured in the organization's memes to spread safety information, has openly declared his love for Fruity Pebbles. So the cereal's manufacturer, Post Consumer Brands, decided to surprise the two-year-old rescue cat with an honor usually reserved for star athletes like Michael Jordan and Simone Biles — its face featured on a cereal box.
When ESDA staff opened the package from Post on February 17, 2021, they found a handwritten note which stated: “Trash Panda — We’re honored you’re such a big Pebbles fan! We hope you enjoy the custom gift at the bottom of the box. We also included some cereal so you’ll be stocked up should you encounter a snowstorm.”
The heartwarming note was accompanied by a ton of goodies, including two large cereal boxes, some Fruity-Pebble-smelling masks, and some delicious Fruity Pebbles candy bars. However, the biggest surprise lay at the bottom of the box — custom Fruity Pebbles boxes starring the gorgeous black and white cat! "This was such an honor, such an incredible moment, such a touching gift," the ESDA staff wrote in their Facebook post. "There's no way to say thank you enough for this. It was amazing." Though the honor may have wowed the ESDA staff, its (now) world-famous mascot appeared to take it in stride!
Trash Panda's meteoric rise to fame began accidentally in 2018, after ESDA Director Chris Helle's wife, Stacey, brought him home from the Humane Society. She planned to foster the two to three-week-old abandoned kitten until it was adopted. In the hopes of finding the cat a suitable home and highlighting the Humane Society's incredible work, the family posted the kitten's photos on ESDA's Facebook page, spotlighting his love for Fruity Pebbles. They also made memes of him promoting Fulton County's safety, education, and preparedness measures. To their surprise, the posts went viral, and Trash Panda started to gain a huge following, with fans asking for daily updates and even sending in boxes of his favorite cereal. Trash Panda, who Helle and his wife adopted, has since become the organization's official mascot and helped raise thousands of dollars for local charitable causes.
Resources: Fultoncounty ESDA