First, I would like to thank everyone who signed up to donate monthly to ACARF. (Allen County Animal Rescue Facility.) You may never know how much that means to us. The community support is so heartwarming and important if we are going to remain open in 2015 and beyond, to continue to provide a safe place for homeless dogs and cats. Our goal is $4,500 in automatic monthly donations. We currently have monthly donation pledges of almost $3,000 and we only have three weeks left to achieve our goal.
Our Facebook page has 3,809 likes with at least 930 people actively talking about us. If each Facebook friend would sign up to donate $5 a month, imagine what we could accomplish. Is that such a large amount that most people would miss it? I do not think so, but you have to take the steps to accomplish it.
We had a great flurry of people and businesses that jumped to provide support when the story first came out, and a few people have signed up since then. Sadly we are still short of our goal and need your help. I know we can do it because I have talked to so many people that have told me they support us.
ACARF also appreciates all the fundraisers, individuals, families, and businesses that sent us donations (both large and small), stuffed our donation jars, offered special donation nights at their businesses, crafted sale goods to donate, and they supported us through Second Chance. We could not have remained open until now without that encouragement and support. We are truly grateful to all of you. You provide the push to get us over the many hills in animal rescue.
Maybe you are not exactly sure what all the people at ACARF do. I know I am probably going to miss something, but will do my best to provide you some insight into what it takes to run a rescue or shelter.
Our biggest expenses are payroll, vet, utilities, taxes, supplies and building maintenance, plus many other small or large required expenses. Remember every day of the week, every day of the month someone (really multiple someone) has to be at the facility. We are never truly closed. Those employees work every day, cleaning pens, washing laundry and dishes. They have to feed, handle, and check every dog or cat, puppy or kitten every day and they do it with a wonderful caring attitude. They work to give them outside or play time, a special pat or play with a toy while they complete their jobs. They deal with the sick or injured and give shots or medicine as required and also some love to those that are sad or lonely. They care and they work for minimum wage, although I can definitely tell you it is hard work and they would not just do it for the pay. They get attached and are happy to see some adopted and heartbroken when they have to say goodbye. But they are there and we could not do this without them.
One of our biggest expenses is vet care. We would love to have the money to spay/neuter every dog or cat that comes into our facility. Doing so would make their lives better even while in the shelter. The state requires us to spay/neuter and give rabies shots before adoption or collect a deposit from the adopter that is refundable on proof that this has been done. This final medical procedure and shots must be done by a veterinarian. ACARF is also required to name a vet as a shelter vet. You would think that adoption fees would offset this expense but it does not come close even with discounts from our vet, Red Barn Veterinary Clinic. We are lucky to have caring veterinarians in town that we can call for support. Not just our main vet has supported us but so has Iola Animal Clinic and Deer Creek when needed.
ACARF has to pay utilities just like everyone; we have gas, electricity, water (lots of water), garbage, sewer, telephone, and Internet. Those have to be paid monthly. We have cut any extras we can and our employees and volunteers have taken up the slack. We have been lucky to have some special benefactors that have provided most of our dog food to provide a steady supply of the same type. We do have to buy kitten and puppy food. It is very important to keep the changes in food to a minimum for the dog’s health.
ACARF also has to have supplies to clean and sanitize everything: runs, bedding, bowls, cat boxes and the pens themselves. We need office supplies, vet supplies for shots and worming, bath supplies for the dogs and sometimes the cats, toys to help alleviate boredom, so many things are needed and more we cannot afford. Many times one of the employees or board members pays a bill or buys something that is needed. Building maintenance is done by volunteers, businesses that donate their time, or when all else fails someone from the board hires it done. I am not saying this to show you how special we are for doing that but to demonstrate how much we care about ACARF.
We cannot continue without community support, it is absolutely vital. We need continued donations both one time and monthly pledges to remain open and viable. Forms can be picked up from Second Chance, the Shelter, and we can be reached on Facebook and at our website: www.acarf.org. We care, our members care, our employees care, and our volunteers care, won’t you join us and help us keep ACARF open for homeless dogs and cats? Your support is essential.
Please join us at Community National Bank basement meeting room on the second Wednesday of any month at 7 p.m. for the ACARF board meeting. Our annual board meeting, normally held in November, will be in January. We would love to see you and answer any questions. If you cannot attend, just stop one of us and we will do our best to help you.
ACARF board member
Recent articles in The Iola Register state the county unemployment rate is low and that well trained (aka competent) workers are increasingly hard to find. Many have opined that affordable housing is needed in order to attract and retain workers. Mr. Shaughnessy, a contractor, stated that a new home would rent for between $650 and $800. That is a fact and is not going to change.
What can change and has to change is the wage. It is time for employers and future employers to pay a living wage for a position requiring more than minimum skills. Our community has merely run out of jobs for those with only basic skills. Employers need to expect more, and in turn, pay more.
We then need to ask, “Do we have a community that will attract and retain these higher wage earners?” I’m sure that Iola Industries, Thrive Allen County, and the Chamber all have packages highlighting the community positives. Those positives need to be reviewed with the goal of attracting the higher income family.