SPCA offers plenty of volunteer opportunities

Looking back at 2013 for a second, one of the most difficult stories we covered was what was happening at the Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary.

While some of the details of what exactly went down there are still a mystery to us, there was one undeniable fact nobody could challenge: Despite all their internal failings and struggles, Safe Haven had a batch of dedicated volunteers who probably made an awful situation better than it could have been had they not been around.

As the dust settles on that fiasco, there are still countless dogs in the area that need help or homes, and the Sussex County SPCA is still trying to provide that help. Last year, the organization reportedly had more than 180 volunteers to help care for the shelter’s animals, a staggering number on the surface, and those numbers helped the SPCA in many ways.

“The volunteers are a vital part of our organization,” explained Joanne Murphy, volunteer and development coordinator for the shelter. “We wouldn’t be able to do more than half of the things we do — especially the offsite things, like the fundraising events — because there isn’t enough staff to cover the shelter and be at these adoption events. Those are where we make our money and get exposure for our animals.

“Our fundraising committee is extremely important, and we are a nonprofit and rely solely on donations.”

The SPCA is not just a halfway house for dogs and cats looking for new homes. They also help with low-cost vaccines, spay and neutering efforts and foster programs. Those efforts require money, as well as manpower, and that means there is always a need for more volunteers to help out when possible.

The Sussex County SPCA is holding two volunteer orientations at their Georgetown shelter over the next few weeks for those interested in giving a hand. The first is Sunday, Jan. 5, at 1 p.m. And the second will be on Feb. 2, also at 1 p.m. These are mandatory if you’d like to be a volunteer.

There are numerous causes and efforts throughout this community that you could help with if you want to expand your volunteerism this year. There are those that deal with libraries or schools, or people struggling with physical limitations or disease. They are all worthwhile.

But if your passion is animals, and you want to try to make a real difference this year, we suggest helping out with the Sussex County SPCA. The work is all the reward you will need.