The Herald Bulletin

October 5, 2013

Maleah Stringer: Long distance volunteers matter at shelter

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Volunteers are vital to any non-profit organization. In most cases funds are extremely tight and these organizations rely on the generosity of the community to help them survive through financial donations and donations of their time, energy, passion and talent. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Animal Protection League; without them our ability to make a difference in the lives of the animals and humans we serve would be greatly diminished.

One of our most valued volunteers lives in Alaska part time. Emma Mattson processes our cat adoptions, does the cat portion of our Facebook page and helps with fundraisers. Her latest project was an online auction; all proceeds came to the Animal Protection League. Emma's dedicated effort raised more than $3,000 for the Animal Protection League. Three heartworm positive dogs will receive treatment and the rest of the money was used to "catify" the Cat Sanctuary.

We have been receiving all sorts of wonderful things in the last couple of weeks to make our cats in our sanctuary extremely happy. Not to mention all the cat folks are having a blast opening packages and setting things up. It's been like Christmas.

We have so many people in our community tell us they want to help; but they just can't come to the shelter; it makes them too sad. You don't have to physically be at the shelter to make a huge impact on what happens to the animals in our shelter and in this community. Emma is a prime example of that. Alaska is pretty far away.

Please, if the reason you are not helping your local shelter is because it makes you too sad to actually go there, but you want to make a difference, then do something. Emma is not in the shelter but she is making an incredible difference from thousands of miles away. She is doing it with her dedication and her passion, as well as her creative and organizational skills. Emma is making a difference.

If Emma can make such a difference from Alaska, what can you do with your particular talents to make a difference in our community? Non-profits always need money. Come up with ideas for fundraisers and implement them. Find out what your shelter needs and come up with creative ways to make those things appear. You will make such a difference for the animals and feel a sense of accomplishment. You do not have to come to the shelter in order to make a vital contribution.

We have so many wonderful animals right now; many who have been surrendered to us by their owners for one reason or another. They are waiting for someone to see something special in them, to feel that special bond and to save them from a life in the shelter. You can make a difference; you just have to decide to do it. This is true regardless of your cause. Take action and make a difference.