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Carbon County Friends of Animals shelter holds drive-thru fundraiser

Carbon County Friends of Animals cat shelter manager Dana Dunbar recently found herself having to be creative and adaptable in planning, with the help of other shelter supporters, in coming up with a new fundraising idea.

After the annual spring basket bingo fundraiser had to be canceled due to the coronavirus, volunteers organized a drive-thru event selling familiar picnic style Memorial Day platters.

Grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade pierogies or chips served with a drink were available for both preorder and drive-thru service. Volunteers also set up a basket raffle under a large pop-up tent for anyone making a contribution, or who brought along an item to donate to the shelter.

Those who did so were eligible to choose which basket they wanted their ticket to be raffled in right from their vehicle. Brightly colored T-shirts for sale were on display as well.

The shelter largely relies on public donations to remain operable, as there are no loans or federal funding that help keep it afloat.

“We needed a safe idea for a fundraising event just to keep us going,” Dunbar said.

“Monetary donations received by the Friends of Animals are used to buy food and essentials, but are often spent on things like utilities too, like electric for instance,” she said, adding that “any item donations never go unappreciated.”

Currently there are 200 cats at the shelter. Those numbers tend to go up throughout the summer, as it is referred to as “kitten season” until September.

Kimmy Mulik, former Friends of Animals board member of 19 years, now serves as a volunteer at the Jim Thorpe-based shelter.

Mulik said, “We are taking a loss because we are nonprofit.”

Even with the closures due to the coronavirus, “supporters of Carbon County Friends of Animals have continued to adopt cats from home online.”

At the website www.ccfoa.info, you can view cats that are up for adoption, see their pictures and read a description of them.

“The shelter has continued to operate throughout the virus because the cats need to get fed and have access to fresh water daily, and that some rely on medication too,” Mulik said.

“Volunteers generally work at the shelter for two-hour shifts,” she said, to help cover the needs of so many cats.

“The Memorial Day drive-thru picnic food platter sale was what we came up with for an alternative to our spring basket bingo, and the best way we could think of to hold an event,” Mulik said.

There were 60 preordered platters and a total of 175 platters sold in all, making the event a success. Mulik and Dunbar are considering hosting a very similar fundraising event sometime during the Fourth of July holiday.

The Carbon County Friends of Animals also canceled its June 28 bingo event. Tickets that were already purchased will be valid for the tentatively rescheduled date of Oct. 11.

Dana Dunbar takes orders at the Carbon County Friends of Animals drive-thru picnic on Memorial Day. ANDREA SICORA/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS