Finding Forever funds animal rescue through thrift store

By Alex Williams, Staff Reporter

Finding Forever Animal Rescue funds their care of homeless cats and dogs through a thrift store in their shelter. 

Finding Forever is located in Marion and started in 2016. The Funding Forever Thrift Store started about a year later. 

At first the shelter was on private property but now they have moved to combine the two. Both the shelter and thrift store are open to the public. 

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Many of the volunteers who stepped up to help in the beginning are still with them today according to Becca Baird, director of Finding Forever.

Baird expanded the idea from just trinkets to clothing and other items that could be sold to raise money for the shelter. 

“We have a lot of people who come in that just love to love on them and they can’t have an animal so it’s great they get to utilize our spaces to love them,” Baird said.

Baird chose to direct her rescue towards cats because she said it was what Southern Illinois needed. She found that there were a lot of local facilities that euthanize often and she wanted to help get the euthanasia numbers lower. 

Finding Forever also takes in dogs but the dogs are placed directly into foster care and are available to be seen by appointment only. 

“It has changed tremendously, we’re adopting more cats, spaying and neutering more cats and it’s just been amazing,” Pat Wilson, a volunteer, said. 

Previously they’d always have about 40 cats between the thrift store and shelter and Baird doesn’t think the number will change drastically. She said she tries to hold at least 25 for adoption at one time and the rest are in isolation and getting ready for the adoption floor. 

Finding Forever provides assistance to some owners so that cats are healthy before going into the shelter. This helps the shelter to be sure that the animals spend less time there according to Baird. 

“We work with Quatro’s in Carbondale, they have a date coming up for dine and donate there so there’s easy ways you can help even if you don’t want to come all the way here to shop and adopt,” said Baird. 

The Quatro’s Dine and Donate event will be held on Feb. 25 and there is also a Dine and Donate event scheduled at Panda Express on March 6. 

Baird said the best way for a college student to help out would be by volunteering, donating and helping with the setting up of events or sharing things online about the shelter and thrift store. 

“If you have to go to work every day, this is the perfect place to have to go,” Amberly Gaudreau, a Finding Forever employee, said.

Potential volunteers can contact the shelter through Facebook messenger or email and will be sent a volunteer application form to fill out. After being accepted, a volunteer can pick the dates and times they are available for training. 

Staff reporter Alexzandria Williams can be reached at [email protected]

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