Cat project goes to the birds to raise funds
Volunteers Jessica Schuon and Kristi Oshetski collect the ducks as they cross the finish line. The Palmerton Cat Project organization hosted the event, with proceeds going to the care of cats in need. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a video clip of the duck race. BRIAN W. MYSZKOWSKI/TIMES NEWS
Bartender Rickie Bocina leads off the Duck Race at the Riverwalck Saloon on Saturday.
When the Palmerton Cat Project needed help raising funds for their feline friends, they left the matter to the birds.
Or the ducks, if you want to get specific.
The organization held the fundraiser at the Riverwalck Saloon in Parryville on Saturday, drawing crowds of cat supporters looking to promote the cause.
“This is our first duck race for the Palmerton Cat Project,” President Barbara Greenzweig said. “We spent months preparing for it, and we received great support for our community. We’re especially thankful for our Riverwalck partners for working with us and allowing us to use the site.”
At $5 per duck, $12 for three entries or $20 for six, the group was able to take in a hefty amount of support for cats in need.
“We sold over 700 ducks. We had a lot of pre-event sales, but we also had a lot of sales today. We also had a trick tray, and we did 50/50s every hour for three hours. This will probably be our biggest fundraiser, and it will help support the work we do in Palmerton,” Greenzweig said.
Riverwalck Saloon bartender Richie Bocina kicked off the festivities by floating down the stream in a duck float, just ahead of the rubber ducks.
“It was great. You’ve got to love it,” Bocina said. “The water was beautiful, and you’ve got to help the animals. It was awesome. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
A course of about 200 water noodles enclosed the raceway, stretching just a few feet off the bank of the waterway.
Though the turbulent waters pushed quite a few ducks out of bounds and into the rapids, Jessica Schuon and Kristi Oshetski were able to rein the rest in safely.
“It was a lot of pressure, and it was really important that I got the first duck. I tried hard, but they got past me, and I fell into the river all the way up to my head,” Schuon said with a laugh.
Tess Soffa took the top prize — $100 donated by George’s Plumbing & Heating — thanks to her lucky duck.
Amanda Kline, who often pitches in to help Palmerton Cat Project with fundraisers, won a $25 prize for selling the most tickets.
“I like animals, and I have three cats of my own. It’s nice that they take care of the animals that are in need, and they help control the cat population,” Kline said.
Since 2014, the Palmerton Cat Project has helped head an initiative to trap, neuter and release cats in and outside the area, provide medical assistance when necessary, and assist in adoption drives.
“We’ve now assisted with the rescue and trap/neuter/release of over 400 cats in Palmerton, and we’ve assisted outside our community with people who are unable to trap and neuter the cats out there, so they don’t continue to breed,” Greenzweig said.
Greenzweig said that medical expenses for rescued cats can add up quickly, but thanks to successful fundraising efforts and the hard work of volunteers and partners, the organization is able to lend a helping hand.
“We’ve had a couple of cats that were in really critical condition when we got them. We partner with Carbon County Friends of Animals, and also Forgotten Felines in Germansville. We have a good partnership with them, and we’re able to utilize their vets on staff to help us, but sometimes those expenses really mount up for an injured cat. A lot of times we see that with the abandoned kitties.”
Greenzweig said that Palmerton Cat Project volunteers will contribute half the cost, $15, for trap/neuter/release efforts within the Palmerton area, which helps to ensure that those cats are safe and healthy, and aren’t breeding. Those who are interested in the effort, or in volunteering with the group, can contact the Palmerton Cat Project through their Facebook page.
“Everything goes to help the cats. None of us are salaried. We really have wonderful support from our community, and we’re very thankful for that. That’s what makes it possible,” Greenzweig said. “That’s our ultimate goal, to have every cat be a loved and indoor cat.”