Paws for Hope in Maple Ridge received a $65,000 provincial gaming grant. (Paws for Hope/Special to The News)

Paws for Hope in Maple Ridge received a $65,000 provincial gaming grant. (Paws for Hope/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge animal welfare group benefits from B.C. gaming grants

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation receives $65,000

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, based out of Maple Ridge, has received a $65,000 provincial gaming grant.

The money was given to the provincial organization for four of its core programs: $40,000 will be going to the Better Together Program that provides veterinary funding assistance to low income pet owners; $10,000 will be going to the No Pet Left Behind Program that provides temporary foster care for pets whose owners are experiencing a crisis, $8,000 is earmarked for the Pets Are Not Products Campaign; and $7,000 to the organization’s spay and neuter program.

Currently the organization is working with two communities – one on the northern tip of Vancouver Island and the other in northern B.C. – to help with the spay and neutering of free roaming cats.

Kathy Powelson, executive director of Paws for Hope, said the funding was much needed. They had to cancel a fundraising event in May last year in addition to a conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The charity relies almost solely on donations.

And, with more people were experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, the number of donations has dropped.

However, she noted, the need for the services increased.

“So it’s certainly been a struggle,” said Powelson.

“We have definitely ramped up our services,” she added, especially the Better Together and the No Pet Left Behind Programs.

“We’ve helped a couple of people with COVID who’ve been hospitalized, for example, and they didn’t have a place for their pet to go,” explained Powelson.

For others they were able to find pet friendly housing and temporary foster care for their pets.

“Then reunite them when their family is back on their feet.”

READ MORE: Maple Ridge organizations awarded gaming grants

The gaming grant is part of $4.8 million given out specifically to environmental organizations between 2020 and 2021 that create opportunities for people to learn about, connect with and protect nature.

According to the organization’s website, they have been in operation since 2011 and have three key motives: to prevent unnecessary harm to animals through education, advocacy, outreach and support; to help people who are struggling to access veterinary care for their pets in order to reduce undue suffering; and to build partnerships in the community that promote best practices, professionalism, and accountability throughout B.C.’s animal welfare sector.

Paws for Hope is one of 138 environmental groups receiving a grant.

Another $6.3 million from B.C.’s Community Gaming Grants was giving to 132 not-for-profit organizations that provide emergency and lifesaving services including search and rescue, disaster relief and emergency preparedness resources.

In total $11 million was given out.

READ MORE: Standards sought for B.C. animal shelters and rescues

“Our government is committed to supporting local organizations involved in a wide variety of activities that contribute to building vibrant, healthy communities,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs.

“This funding ensures community organizations can continue to provide programming to enhance public safety through emergency programs like search and rescue, and to steward and preserve our ecosystems for generations to come,” she added.

Powelson is concerned about what the next 12 months is going to look like if people are still not working.

“Certainly for us, the values that surround the work that we do is intended to keep pets with their families and supporting them in the community,” said Powelson, especially now when the atmosphere is so stressful.

She is hoping to be able to continue to keep pets with their families instead of being surrendered.

Community Gaming Grants provide approximately $140 million each year to support nearly 5,000 not-for-profit organizations that deliver services to people throughout British Columbia.

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