New Paw Pal Professionals group looks to raise money for Voorhees Animal Orphanage
They call themselves the Paw Pal Professionals.
Self described as a “dedicated group of professionals joined together to support animal welfare and the Voorhees Animal Orphanage,” the group held its official launch party on July 19 on the patio at Champps in Marlton while surrounding by dozens of smiling faces and supporters.
Together the group of area professionals will mainly work to advance the VAO’s ongoing capital campaign, which is currently attempting to raise $1.6 million for the construction of a new building to replace the VAO’s current facility.
Founded in 1988, the VAO has since helped nearly 20,000 cats and dogs. The organization placed nearly 1,000 animals in permanent homes within the last year alone.
Yet, despite those figures and the VAO’s nearly 30-year history, the VAO currently performs all of its work out of several outdated structures and sheds at its property on Cooper Road.
Outside of the money the organization receives for serving as the designated shelter for 15 local municipalities, the VAO operates as a no-kill shelter and adoption center entirely on donations and does not receive direct funding from the state or Camden County.
With that in mind, the Paw Pal Professionals hope to step-in and combine their love of animals and their successful business networks to hold fundraising and outreach events to benefit the VAO and ultimately build the organization a new home.
The VAO looks to build its new facility in 2018 to coincide with the shelter’s 30th anniversary, with the new facility unifying operations into one building. Features would include increased capacity, on-site examination and treatment facilities, and an area specifically dedicated for adopters to interact with prospective pets.
Real estate agent Candy Niedoba, who was named co-chair of the VAO’s fundraising campaign several months ago and helped start the Paw Pal Professionals, said the VAO has always been there every time she rescued a pet or needed help, so helping the VAO get a new building was her way to make a difference in the world.
“I can’t wait for that day when I’m standing in front of that new building and we have what we need to really make a difference, not only for the animals but the people who are adopting them and so on,” Niedoba said.
According to Sharla Floyd, director of fundraising and marketing with the VAO, once Niedoba became co-chair of the capital campaign she started enrolling people to use their professional networks to help the VAO, and it quickly grew into the Paw Pal Professionals.
“Each person that signed on has said things like ‘I want to help and my accountant friend adopted from you, I’m going to see if he wants to help’ and it’s grown from that,” Floyd said. “We have weekly meetings, and we are set on making this building a reality.”
Steve Braslow, a loan officer at Atlantic Pacific Mortgage in Mt. Laurel and member of the Paw Pal Professionals said he and his wife was chose not to have children so they could dedicate their lives to animal rescue and the VAO was where they got their first dog.
“The animal orphanage is something that’s very dear to my heart…I believe everybody in my family has at least volunteered at this place at least one time or another,” Braslow said.
Charles Gavin Oppermann, a real estate attorney in Marlton and yet another Paw Pal Professional, also said animals were his passion.
“I am hoping I can contribute not just to the Voorhees Animal Orphanage but to animals rights and animal orphanages all around the state of New Jersey as I go along my path,” Oppermann said.
To learn more about the Paw Pal Professionals and their upcoming events, visit facebook.com/PawPalProfessionals.
To donate directly to the VAO’s capital campaign, visit www.vaonj.org/donate.