The big football game was not the only big event going on the first weekend of February. “Souper Day For Pets” was held for the second time with proceeds from the event going to the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Inc. and The CatWorks Inc.
This year the soup or chili contest, dog and cat adoptions, raffle prizes, food and drinks even was held at The Westy Bar & Grill in Hamburg.
“We like having events at the Westy. The staff there is great and we usually have a good turn out,” said Nikki Mengel, with The CatWorks Inc. “The turn out this year was a lot better. We are going to have it next year at the Westy again.”
Walking into the restaurant, a table lined with various items and baskets to try to win in the raffle as well as baked items for sale greeted attendees. Along with dogs dressed to impress and wearing adoption vests, there were also dogs and cats available for adoption through the two organizations along the wall with the raffle items.
“The proceeds are going to go towards the animals,” said Mengel. “The CatWorks is a foster to adopt program. If we come across an animal that needs extra care such as a broken leg, if the rescue who has that animal can’t afford to fix it, we will put it towards that and hopefully then take the animal in to our foster care program, fix it up and find it a forever home like we do for others.”
That afternoon The Westy was packed with those there for the event as well as for lunch and dinner meaning that many people had the chance to see the prizes, crockpots full of soup and chili, adoptable pets and talk with volunteers from the ARL and The CatWorks. Most memorable of the afternoon were the dogs dressed with feather boas, fairy wings, a flower costume and those that avoided the costume (though those dressed up did not seem to mind at all) who were all ready to say “hi” and be showered with pets and kind words.
“We would hope someday by continuing to have these fundraisers we can raise more and more money to give to other rescues for their dogs and cats that need extra medical care. We want the money to go to the animals specifically not the day to day costs of the organizations,” said Mengel. “We find forever homes for 300-400 cats and about 20-25 dogs that we pull from these organizations each year,” she added on The CatWorks Inc. organization.
Many animal rescue groups rely heavily on volunteers and some are solely run by volunteers. Events such as this help raise funds, but are a lot of work for the volunteers. Mengel explained that because the groups want to put as much towards the animals as possible, there is often not money for advertising or to buy a whole bunch of items for raffle prizes. The groups try to get as many raffle prizes donated as they can and handle the advertising themselves by hanging and mailing flyers and of course word of mouth.
“We are always looking for more volunteers to help more animals,” said Mengel. “Our volunteers make this possible and when you have a place like The Westy who allows us to hold fundraisers and make extra money, that really helps us out!”
The CatWorks Inc. was founded in 2002 and works with many animal rescues such as ARL and Animal Care and Control Team out of Philadelphia. They were recently named the top 100 rescues that ACCT works with and received top honors for their adoption at Petco in Wyomissing. The group has adoptions twice a month at Petco in Wyomissing and is always looking for donations and volunteers to help with fundraisers, adoption days and foster. For more information on The CatWorks, visit their website at www.thecatworksinc.org.
Animal Rescue League of Berks County was founded in 1952 and provides shelter and care to unwanted and abused animals in the Greater Reading area. At any given time, they care fore 175 animals a day at their facility in Birdsboro. Between May and September the shelter receives 900 cats and 300 dogs a month. For more information on ARL and how to volunteer or donate, visit their website at http://www.berksarl.org/.