Swift Cur­rent SPCA fac­ing sig­nif­i­cant fundrais­ing chal­lenge

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Matthew Lieben­berg mlieben­berg@prairiepos­t.com

The Swift Cur­rent SPCA is fac­ing a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge to raise funds for shel­ter op­er­a­tions while pub­lic health mea­sures re­main in place to re­duce the risk of COVID-19 in­fec­tion.

“Since the virus came into play, our do­na­tions gone kind of nowhere and do­na­tions make the SPCA works,” Swift Cur­rent SPCA Pres­i­dent Larry John­son said. “We’re still ac­cept­ing. If any­body wants to do­nate any­thing to the shel­ter or to the book­store, just get hold of us and we’ll cer­tainly ac­cept your do­na­tion.”

The an­i­mal shel­ter has been tem­po­rar­ily closed to the pub­lic since March 16 due to the re­quire­ments for phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing and the book­store closed on March 20 to pro­tect the health of vol­un­teers and cus­tomers.

“We’ve done ex­tremely well for adopt­ing an­i­mals out, but we still have pay cheques for the peo­ple at the shel­ter and with­out the do­na­tions com­ing in, it’s a strug­gle for the SPCA to main­tain all our ex­penses that we do have,” he said.

Some staff have been laid off due to the pan­demic, but there are still staff car­ing for an­i­mals at the shel­ter. Ac­cord­ing to John­son the SPCA is look­ing at ap­ply­ing for any rel­e­vant fed­eral sup­port that might be avail­able to a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We have peo­ple on the board that are look­ing into all those,” he said. “We have to have peo­ple at the shel­ter, be­cause the an­i­mals are there. Some of them are laid off, so we are look­ing into the var­i­ous pro­grams and I’m sure there’s a pro­gram out there that will cover the peo­ple that have been laid off or part-time.”

Shel­ter Man­ager Amy McLean said an­i­mals are still re­ceiv­ing all the care they need. There are fewer staff on duty, but there are fewer an­i­mals to care for and mon­i­tor. Many an­i­mals have been fos­tered or adopted since the pan­demic re­stric­tions came into ef­fect. There was a good re­sponse from the com­mu­nity to a re­quest for fos­ter homes for an­i­mals. Adop­tions also in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly.

“The fos­ter pro­gram ex­ploded when we first had a call-out there,” she men­tioned. “It was just so help­ful and just awe­some. Peo­ple re­ally stood up for us and the an­i­mals. Orig­i­nally, I had about half of the an­i­mals in the shel­ter ac­tu­ally go out into fos­ter homes. As peo­ple started to more adopt, we were pulling back from fos­ter and then they were be­ing adopted and go­ing to their for­ever home.”

Many of the an­i­mals were ac­tu­ally adopted by peo­ple who ini­tially signed up for fos­ter­ing. At the mo­ment most of the an­i­mals in fos­ter care are fe­male cats and their kit­tens.

“We’re still tak­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for any­body who would be will­ing to fos­ter and then if any­thing spe­cific comes in that’s more in need of a fos­ter home we are send­ing them out,” she said. “But over­all, I’m just keep­ing what I have in shel­ter, be­cause they’re been adopted out so fast. It seems as soon as they get into a fos­ter home they al­most have to come back right away.”

The SPCA is still ac­cept­ing stray or sur­ren­dered an­i­mals, and adop­tions are con­tin­u­ing, but pro­ce­dures have been changed to ac­com­mo­date the need for phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing. Ar­range­ments will be made over the phone, in­clud­ing the pro­ce­dures to drop off an­i­mals.

“Ev­ery­thing is over the phone, for the most part, tak­ing in­for­ma­tion and hav­ing things filled out that way,” she said. “So ev­ery­thing is still go­ing, it’s just no pub­lic in the build­ing. Any­body want­ing to adopt, if it is a ca­nine, we do a meet and greet in an out­door run. The peo­ple can come and meet the an­i­mal at a dis­tance from staff, and then they just call me and any­thing due to con­tract or pay­ments is all done on­line.”

John­son noted they are con­sid­er­ing re-open­ing the shel­ter and the book­store to the pub­lic in the near fu­ture, but the nec­es­sary ar­range­ments will have to be im­ple­mented to ac­com­mo­date the ex­ist­ing pub­lic health mea­sures still in ef­fect. Up­dates and more de­tails about open­ing dates for the shel­ter and book­store will be pro­vided on the Swift Cur­rent SPCA Face­book page.

In the mean­time, the or­ga­ni­za­tion will con­tinue to face chal­lenges to raise funds. The Swift Cur­rent SPCA needs to raise more than 80 per cent of its an­nual bud­get in the com­mu­nity. It re­ceives a grant from the City of Swift Cur­rent for pound care and li­cens­ing ser­vices, but it does not re­ceive any pro­vin­cial or fed­eral core fund­ing for ser­vices, and it is not af­fil­i­ated with or funded by the Saskatchew­an SPCA.

Swift Cur­rent SPCA De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer Teresa Cole said they host fundrais­ers in the com­mu­nity through­out the year, but all these ac­tiv­i­ties have now come to a halt due to the COVID-19 mea­sures.

“For us the on­go­ing fundrais­ing through­out the year is re­ally about sur­vival,” she em­pha­sized. “It all goes to the lo­cal op­er­a­tions and we’re re­ally quite de­pen­dent on things we can do through­out the year.”

A key fac­tor in this ap­proach is their pres­ence at dif­fer­ent events, for ex­am­ple at the an­nual Pic­nic in the Park and at trade shows, as well as a lot face-to-face ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Our strat­egy has been a lot of smaller events for the most part, although we have a cou­ple of larger things through­out the year, with all of those rev­enue streams fil­ter­ing to­gether and hop­ing that if one of those isn’t suc­cess­ful, then the oth­ers will be there,” she said. “Un­for­tu­nately, we didn’t an­tic­i­pate a sit­u­a­tion like this, where so many of them would be im­pacted all at the same time.”

Cole es­ti­mated their reg­u­lar do­na­tions are down about 50 per cent com­pared to the same time last year, which re­flects the im­pact of the pan­demic on the com­mu­nity.

At the mo­ment the Swift Cur­rent SPCA has three ac­tive fundrais­ers. Do­na­tions to the $20 for 2020 an­nual ap­peal are still ac­cepted, and pet own­ers can al­ready sub­mit pho­tos of their pets to the 2021 pet cal­en­dar. The cost of en­tries varies from $5 to $20, de­pend­ing on the spot se­lected in the cal­en­dar. An­other op­tion is to sup­port the SPCA through the do­na­tion of re­cy­clable bev­er­age con­tain­ers. Bags of clean, de-capped con­tain­ers can be dropped off at any time at the shel­ter’s front en­trance, lo­cated at 2101 Knight Cres­cent.

An­other op­tion would be to make a mon­e­tary do­na­tion on­line at the SPCA web­site at www.sp­caswiftcur­rent.com or by elec­tronic funds trans­fer to trea­surer@sp­caswiftcur­rent.com. Do­na­tions can also be mailed to the Swift Cur­rent SPCA at Box 1163, Swift Cur­rent, S9H 3X3.

“We un­der­stand a lot of folks just aren’t in a po­si­tion to do­nate, but we re­ally hope that folks that are in a po­si­tion to, would think about us and hope­fully try to main­tain the ser­vice in the com­mu­nity go­ing for­ward,” she said.

Photo by Matthew Lieben­berg

Swift Cur­rent SPCA Shel­ter Man­ager Amy McLean places bags of do­nated re­cy­clable bev­er­age con­tain­ers in an empty dog run, May 12.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.