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UPAWS well worthy of support during these challenging times

The Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter, located at 615 S. State Highway M-553 in Sands Township, is a critical resource for animals without current “forever homes” and the community at large, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, numerous fundraising events for the shelter — including Wash-n-Wag, the Cause for Paws annual gala and the Raise the Woof comedy night fundraiser — have been canceled due to the pandemic. Due to this, its fundraiser revenue has been less than usual this year, UPAWS President Reva Laituri said in a recent Journal article.

Furthermore, she said the revenue generated by services such as nail clippings and microchipping has also declined amid the pandemic.

“We’re hanging in there,” Laituri said. “We haven’t had to go into our reserves or anything yet.”

But the shelter is looking to find ways to raise funds without gathering groups of people.

“In planning and thinking about next year, we’re just trying to be more creative in our fundraising,” Laituri said. “We’re looking as much as possible to see what we can do online. Hopefully, we can start doing more things again. I guess it’s ‘hoping for the best and planning for the worst.’ Everybody is having to do it.”

And there is a bright spot, as she said the shelter received more donations than average in absence of its in-person fundraisers.

“I’ve tried to work harder on our direct solicitations — direct-mail asks — and been a little more creative to make them more appealing, hopefully, but basically, people have just kind of stepped up on their own, and we have gotten more donations,” Laituri told the Journal.

For example, Karen J. Rhodes, a UPAWS volunteer, recently received a check for UPAWS from Dr. Tim Hunt of Bayshore Veterinary Hospital in Harvey, which ran a special fundraiser for the shelter.

She said Bayshore raised $788.10 for UPAWS this summer by taking advantage of social distancing. Because clients and their pets waited outside the facility in their cars for their visits, Hunt put a cooler with pop and water outdoors, along with a donation bucket for UPAWS.

We commend Hunt and others who have donated to the shelter during this challenging time and we hope that others will be inspired to do the same, as the work done by UPAWS is of tremendous value to animals and humans alike.

There are many ways to support UPAWS, including volunteering, fostering an animal, hosting a fundraiser, organizing a direct financial donation, becoming a UPAWS member, donating items on the shelter’s wishlist and more.

To learn more about how to get involved and give back to UPAWS, visit upaws.org, its Facebook page or call 906-475-6661.

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