After seeing the devastating effect the summer bushfires had on wildlife, Sandy Howe decided to take action in her own small part of the world.
- Sandy Howe can’t look after the animals herself, so she’s using her work skills to help raise money
- Many wildlife rescues are self-funded by volunteers and groups that rely on donations
- During COVID-19 the shop has closed, but funds were raised in the short time it was open
Last month she opened an op shop at Woodend in the Macedon Ranges with the aim of providing financial support to regional wildlife rescue centres, carers and shelters.
Ms Howe said because she could not look after the animals herself, she was using her previous work skills to help raise funds.
“I’m not in a position myself to care for animals at the moment, but I see a lot of carers and shelters around who quite often live quite meekly to be able to afford the care for the animals,” Ms Howe said.
“I’ve got a background working in the airlines, so I’ve got good people skills … and when my daughter started kinder, I was working at the Salvos in Woodend, so I’ve picked up a lot of the business savvy side of things from them.”
Over the past month, the shop filled with donations from the community.
“I’ve got such an array of donations — I’ve got silver cutlery, vintage clothing — I can’t tell you how humbled I am by the quality of the donations that are coming in,” she said.
Reliance on volunteers
Ms Howe said she had seen firsthand how hard wildlife volunteers worked; on her 30-acre property, she had relied on them for support.
“I’ve had them out on my block, in the Black Forest, a few times to euthanase kangaroos that have been injured, or even just to keep an eye on injured kangaroos,” she said.
Although she had to close the shop because of increased COVID-19 numbers in the community, Ms Howe still managed to raise money in the small time she had been open.
“We opened for four weeks; after my rent and costs are paid, the rest will go to the shelters,” she said.
Her first donation of $2,000 will be sent to East Trentham Wildlife Shelter operators Helen and Manfred Zabinskas.
“She rang us and said we were the first shelter she wanted to donate to — it was completely out of the blue,” Ms Zabinskas said
“People don’t realise that wildlife rescue is self-funded by volunteers and groups that rely on donations. We’re really grateful for it.”
Ms Howe said it might start as a small donation, bit it all added up.