Hard work pays off: Hearts of Life granted nonprofit status
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
At long last, a local animal rescue agency's hard work has paid off. The agency was granted nonprofit status, which should make Hearts of Life eligible to apply for some much needed grants to keep the program afloat financially.
"We've been working constantly since December. We're a nonprofit status. That's a biggie for us because now we can start looking for grants to help us out," said said Dianne Hershberger, founder of the no kill shelter.
The agency is made up of caring volunteers who donate their time, resources and sometimes homes to make sure local animals have a safe, healthy place to stay and are well cared for.
The agency currently has 61 dogs and 30 cats that were "rescued," and are in need of a new home. They have half a dozen dedicated volunteers whose passion for animals and their well-being not only has them coming back time and again on their regular "shift" to make sure all of their canine and feline "guests" are fed, exercised, groomed, have clean pens or litter boxes, and they get a little attention. Some even are foster parents, taking in animals at their own residences.
But, while they have several members who regularly contribute, Hearts of Life animal rescue can always use more volunteers to help care out, one member said. They'll also accept donations of services and time from professionals such as electricians, plumbers and cement workers for repairs and upgrades.
Hearts of Life, like most nonprofit organizations, also needs donations of money, food or care items for the animals.
To bolster supplies and funds, the agency has come up with two fund raisers as well as a sponsorship program. They held a candle fund raiser and are now offering car magnets shaped like a ribbon which have "Save a life adopt a shelter pet" on them for a $10 donation.
Heart of Life is also launching a new sponsorship program which allows those who want to help but are unable to adopt a pet or to volunteer their time.
A book featuring shelter animals will be available for viewing at local veterinarians' offices. It'll have pictures and information about available animals. The first book should be available Broadway Vet Clinic soon, and hopefully more books will be gradually distributed among local vets. People can sponsor a pet for $20 a month. Sponsors will receive a note or e-mail monthly letting them know how the animal is doing.
"We'll update the pictures monthly. If 20 people sponsored pets, that'd be $400," said Hershberger, founder of the no kill shelter.
Animals range from black Labrador puppies to a "love-bug" tiger-striped cat that's completely housebroken, silver and blue or chocolate male schnauzers with sweet dispositions to older animals.
"We have so many sweet babies who need homes," said Cheryl Nortin, a Hearts of Life member and shelter volunteer.
As the weather warms, Hearts of Life hopes to be able to host adopt-a-thons and other pet projects. Pets may also be adopted by calling the shelter, 903-885-5102 to set up an appointment, or by visiting the shelter, located in the white building at the far end of dead end CR 4510 — just look for the dog pins.
The cost to adopt is $65 which covers everything, including spay or neuter and needed shots, or whatever else the cat or dog may need. The fee helps off-set vet bills.
Donations may also be made at the shelter or directly to the vet designated for Hearts of Life.
In addition to monetary contribution, Hearts of Life also accepts donations of food, supplies and grooming materials. Several of the local department and farm supply stores donate regularly to the pound, which is a big help. More help is always welcome though, as there is always plenty of work to go around as well as mouths to feed and care for.
Hearts of Life members extended a special thank you to North East Texas Choral Society for donating the left over food and scraps from their Valentine's Masquerade Ball. Choral Society members even went so far as to separate out the meat, and veggies and things bad for animals into separate containers, then delivered it to the shelter. The food was a big help, as it was enough to feed the dogs for two days.
"They were in their glory," said one member. "The Choral Society fed 200 people. Sorting out the food took 30 minutes, meat in one and veggies in the other. That really saved us the cost of dog food. Local stores donate their opened bags too. That's such a help."
The shelter's top concern is the safety and immediate welfare of the animals. But, like every organization, also have a wish list of supplies that'd not only make their jobs easier but would improve the quality of life for the cats and dogs they serve.
The list includes: cat litter, cedar chips, baby wipes, tarps, 14 cat scoops so that each cat his its own scoop and the cleaners don't have to sterilize them after each cage, dog pillows, blankets, dog houses, leashes, collars, cat toys, aluminum feeding bowls, antibacterial, hand soap, hand sanitizer, towels, a big mud sink to bath dogs or for their human care-takers to use as a wash basin and a set of solid French doors.
For more information about any of the fundraisers, adopting or sponsoring a pet, making donations or Hearts of Life, call 903-885-5102.