"Out of the worst of people, come the best of people," said Denise Sebelin, president of the Carbon County Friends of Animals, as she accepted a check from Bart Springer, president of the Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce.

The donation offered a great comfort to Sebelin whose animal shelter was burglarized last week. On May 25, the staff was unable to locate a safe containing a cash lock box.

"When the police came, they looked at the back door, and saw that wood was missing and there were pry marks on the steel door. They believe it was jimmied," Sebelin said.

Sebelin believed that the missing safe contained about $1,600 about $400 cash and $1,200 in checks, collected from donations and adoption fees over the previous three weeks.

"The checks are of no value to whoever took them," Sebelin noted. "No one will cash them. We had a record, and we contacted everyone that we received checks from."

Meanwhile, the CCFOA faced a struggle to cover their immediate costs for food, litter and veterinary care for the 200 cats at their shelter.

Mike Guy, treasurer of the Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce asked Springer to call an emergency board meeting, and at that meeting the chamber agreed to donate $250 to help the CCFOA rebound from the loss.

"The chamber is 100 percent behind local charities," Springer said. "Especially the Carbon County Friends of Animals because they do a good hands-on job for the community."

Sympathetic to the loss, the public has been responding with donations. Volunteers at the shelter took up a collection, and are offering a $100 reward to lead to the arrest and conviction of the party or parties involved.

The CCFOA is a private charity, and is not supported by Carbon County. It is about 14 years old and focuses primarily on cats, although from time to time, it has rescued a variety of pets including: Guinea pigs, potbellied pigs, ducks, geese, rats, ferrets and rabbits.

It began operations at, and helped to build, the Nesquehoning animal shelter that is now the county dog shelter. The facility could house only 40 cats and was quickly outgrown. The shelter is housed primarily on Route 209 in Jim Thorpe, with a scattering of cats in various locations and foster homes. There is a waiting list as the current facilities are taxed to capacity. The CCFOA is raising funds for a larger facility.

For information or to adopt a cat, call (570) 325-9400. To donate, send checks to: Carbon County Friends of Animals, 900 Walnut Ave., Jim Thorpe, PA 18229.