The People Promoting Animal Welfare spaying and neutering clinic in Greenback has reached halfway through its fundraising efforts to build a new office on U.S. Highway 321.
Paula McFarland, chair of PPAW’s board, said the organization has raised enough money to start construction, but executives agree it would be better to raise more money to avoid a high mortgage payment. .
As of March 10, $300,000 of the ultimate goal of $600,000 has been raised. McFarland said waiting for more funds is ideal. Additionally, if PPAW gets close to the goal, construction will take about a year, giving PPAW time to “close the gap” for the rest, McFarland said.
“We’re not opposed to taking out a mortgage,” McFarland said. “We just don’t want to take one that’s going to be crippling because we’re a non-profit organization. We reinvest everything back into our subsidization of the cost of surgeries and the provision of wellness care. We do surgical services for shelters and rescues so they can help animals become adoptable and we do it at very, very discounted prices.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on PPAW’s fundraising efforts, like many other nonprofits. McFarland said the council has planned many big events like a golf tournament, a gala and even a 5K race.
With the help of PPAW Fundraising Chair Judy Smigiel, PPAW found a way to continue raising funds by hosting Facebook auctions.
By joining the Facebook page, members will receive notifications when an auction starts and when items are posted. The bidders clash in the post’s comments, McFarland said. The latest auction started on Monday and will run until March 31.
Items typically included in auctions include handmade jewelry, salon, restaurant and boutique gift certificates, artwork, pet clothing and accessories, and more. There are also baked goods available for auction that are prepared fresh on a date requested by the highest bidder, Smigiel said.
PPAW’s new location will be more accessible to citizens of Loudon and Blount counties, and the larger building will allow about 3,500 additional surgeries per year, McFarland said. Raising awareness about the auction in turn raises awareness for PPAW so that it can continue to help the community.
Since 1998, PPAW has helped low-income families take care of their pets with minor surgeries, vaccinations and neutering. Smigiel said helping PPAW doesn’t just help animals, it also helps people.
“It has a very strong human factor,” Smigiel said. “You take a very low-income family. If Grandma comes to live with them, it’s like, “Do we keep the dog and neuter it and feed it, or do we get prescriptions from Grandma? They are then forced to make a decision. They take the animal, return it, give it to someone. It tears children’s hearts out. Then you have an additional burden on the county to feed and house that animal until it becomes adoptable or someone picks it up or euthanizes it.
“There’s a huge human element to it,” she added. “A lot of people tend to look at an animal cause like, ‘Oh, well, we have to take care of the people first before we worry about it.’ But there’s a huge human element to it.
For more information about PPAW or the auction, call McFarland at 301-414-0142 or Smigiel at 865-560-6273.