Home Voorhees News Voorhees Animal Orphanage launches campaign to raise funds for new facility

Voorhees Animal Orphanage launches campaign to raise funds for new facility

Voorhees Animal Orphanage launches campaign to raise funds for new facility


Since 1988, the Voorhees Animal Orphanage has worked to rescue and place more than 20,000 cats and dogs — 1,000 in the last year alone.

The non-profit now hopes to continue that work with the announcement of its $1.6 million “Take Me Home” capital campaign.

At a Jan. 28 press conference, VAO officials said the organization hopes to raise the funds necessary to consolidate several outdated and separate outbuildings on its grounds into one new, modernized structure.

While the VAO has already raised one-third of the campaign’s total goal through quiet fundraising, VAO officials said now is the right time to ask for support from the private sector and ordinary citizens.

“You take a look around here and you see that this is not a beautiful place,” VAO Board President and volunteer Dave Semless said. “It does great things, but we need help. We constantly have fix-up projects.”

Semless described the past year as a “turnaround” for the VAO, with the organization having gotten costs under control and having become a true community shelter by working with surrounding shelters, adoption centers and rescues.

Yet, due to utility costs and constant repair needs, Semless said the VAO needs to consolidate under one roof so it can operate more efficiently and be more productive.

With 15 staff members, Semless said the VAO has an annual operating budget of about $450,000, with only one-third of funding coming from municipalities for services rendered, with the remaining coming from fundraising and donations. Semless said the VAO receives no state or federal funding.

“We’ll be able to adopt more animals, which is the main goal,” Semless said.

According to Semless, the new structure would be built in the front of the VAO’s grounds so as not to cause any immediate disruption to its animals, and from there it would move forward as a phased-in project.

Semless was not able to give a date for when construction might start.

Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash and his dog Norman were also at the press conference. Norman, who himself was adopted from a local shelter, provides the name for “Norman’s Law,” which the Camden County Freeholders passed last year to ban sales of animals from puppy mills in Camden County.

Nash said Camden County would be supporting the VAO’s campaign so it could continue to encourage those looking to adopt pets to do so by going to shelters and rescue organizations.

“Camden County is going to stand behind the Animal Orphanage to ensure that they raise the money necessary to have the facilities to care for these animals,” Nash said.

Mayor Michael Mignogna said Voorhees Township would also be supporting the VAO’s campaign, and the township was proud to have the organization as part of the community.

“It’s so appropriate that the name of this campaign is ‘Take Me Home’ because this campaign is going to provide many homes for many cats and dogs,” Mignogna said.

For more information on the VAO’s capital campaign, visit www.vaonj.org.

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