The West Jersey Volunteers for Animal Rescue is looking for foster families and donations to help the organization get back on its feet after a year of COVID.
“We are very small now, and with COVID, we lost a lot of fosters,” said rescue President Iris Brown. “We are trying to come back from the pandemic, and I am hoping we can help more dogs along the way.”
The rescue began in 1998, when a group of people decided to volunteer at the West Jersey Animal Shelter to help take care of and walk stray animals. They decreased the percentage of euthanized animals, increased medical care and helped provide spaying and neutering.
“We volunteered at the shelter supporting the animals, not the shelter itself,” said Brown. “We paid for medical care and started walking dogs. The shelter was very old and didn’t have the best reputation back then.”
The shelter became a 501c3 nonprofit in 2001, but in 2006, it was shut down for repairs and renovations. That setback did not stop the volunteers from providing loving homes and medical care to animals in need. They now work from their homes, and the shelter was renamed the West Jersey Volunteers for Animal Rescue.
“After they closed, we decided to go on, like, a regular rescue,” Brown recalled. “Instead of just supporting animals at the shelter, we started pulling dogs and cats out of the local shelters around here, and we eventually helped out a small shelter in North Carolina … “We learned a lot and made some mistakes,” she added. “We learned good things and bad things. We were a good group and we ended up having about 35 volunteers by the time we left the shelter in 2006.”
The volunteers have made room in their homes for animals in need, but they want more people to open their homes and hearts. Animals brought into foster homes are saved from euthanasia and get the medical care they need.
“When it comes to adopting and fostering, it is different when you have time,” explained Brown. “Shelters dont have the kind of time that we do, so we can be more personal and get to know people.”
The rescue is planning a summer fundraiser to help bring in donations that slowed or stopped during the pandemic.
“Right now, we are trying to think of ways to raise some money,” Brown said. “We have fundraisers we do every year, like a shoe drive … We did save-around books, but COVID put a dent in that because a lot of people aren’t taking coupons.
“We used to have bowling events, but things you can do online are the best … We are working on doing an online auction this summer, but it is a process.”
To learn more about the rescue visit http://www.wjva.org. For those interested in fostering there is a form to fill out on the website or an email can be sent to Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.