There is no denying that during the Covid-19 pandemic that many people and businesses have been hurting. Something that many people don’t consider is how the pandemic is affecting animals-yes, animals CAN actually contract the Covid virus as well! Animal shelters around the world are severely suffering from lack of support and supplies during the past few months, with some even being forced to euthanize more animals or shut down completely. Our homeless animals need help more than ever during this critical time. The good news is there are ways to help, like hosting your own drive to support your local animal shelter! Here are some ways you can make that happen! 

Spread the Word

The goal is to get as many people  as possible to participate. Invite everyone you know and then have them invite everyone THEY know! The more people involved, the better! Thanks to the internet and social media, there are so many ways of getting the word out these days that it really couldn’t get any easier! Send out invites or create an event via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and let people know the dates you are collecting items, the date and time of the actual event, the shelter location, and what items are most necessary. Allow people to share and invite others to see and participate in the event. Another option is printing and posting flyers in all of your local shops!

Collecting Donations

On your invite or event page, you can post a list of most needed supplies or include a website to the shelter’s website for people to see what may be needed. Some shelters even have their own Amazon Wishlists set up that makes it so easy for people to purchase and send items directly to the shelter. Check out your local shelter and see if they have something like this set up and make sure you include it in your invite/event page! 

Some people may be interested in donating, but may not be able to make the actual event. We all understand how hard it can be for some people to get out during the pandemic. Let them know that you or another dedicated friend would be willing to pick up any donations that they may have. 

Another option would be asking your local grocery store or pet store if you could set up a donation box at the register or door for people to purchase directly in-store and place in the box on their way out. Prior to the event, you can swing by the stores and pick up the donation boxes to deliver to the shelter. 

If people don’t want to buy something to donate, remind them that this is a great way to clean out their linen closets. Animal shelters can always use towels and blankets. So if there is anyone who has these items that are gently used and aren’t using them in their homes anymore, they can certainly donate those!

It may be easier for some people to make a monetary donation as opposed to actual products or supplies. Consider creating a Venmo or Paypal account for people to directly deposit money (even the smallest amount will help!) and then you can simply transfer it over to the shelter. You may also want to send out a reminder that donations are tax-deductible. 

Drop Off

Due to the pandemic, some shelters have limited hours when volunteers or workers are actually in the facility. Prior to the day of your event, you may want to call the shelter and inform them that you are planning to have people drive up and drop off donations. Be sure to let them know the day and time. This  way you can be sure someone is definitely at the shelter to receive the items and stay socially distanced. Due to health and safety regulations, this will give the shelter time to decide if they will stand outside to greet guests to collect and thank them for donations, or if they want to set up boxes for the items to be placed in. Every shelter may be different with how they are collecting items during the Covid pandemic. Try to contact them ahead of time so you can ensure someone is there and so that they aren’t overwhelmed or caught off guard while trying to care for the animals and take care of every day duties at the facility. 

Gratitude

Above all, be sure to thank EVERYONE who was involved. Whether they made donations, helped collect donated items, helped with the drop off, or allowed donation boxes in their stores, be sure to thank every single person who helped with your event. Gratitude goes a long way! Not only does the shelter appreciate their generosity, but so do the animals. Encourage people to visit their local shelter to see how much the animals and shelter staff appreciate their donations. Whether it was towels, treats, toys, or cleaning supplies, all of the donations will be used. Encouraging people to visit the shelter may also motivate them to volunteer at the shelter or even foster or adopt a new best friend!