ROANOKE, Va. - Scrub countless dirty food bowls? Check. Fold loads of laundry? Check. Bag dog and cat food for families struggling to feed their pets? Check. Hug kittens while prepping for an afternoon adoption event? Check. Walk energetic pups? Oh, yes. Check.
No task was too daunting for the nearly dozen AEP/Appalachian Power employees, retirees and family who gathered on a recent Saturday to volunteer at the region's animal shelter in Roanoke.
In exchange for their volunteer work, the facility received a $300 check courtesy of the 2023 AEP Caring Together Volunteer Funding Program.
The Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection (RCACP) in Roanoke serves Roanoke and Botetourt counties, the City of Roanoke, and Town of Vinton.
Keeping up with the high number of intakes is a constant struggle for the facility. The day the AEP/APCo group volunteered the shelter was full.
Understandably, shelter staff had a list waiting for the volunteers to conquer and they did not disappoint. Each minute was an opportunity to make a difference for the overworked shelter staff, but just as importantly the rooms filled with animals patiently awaiting a furrever home.
Volunteers were put to work washing sinks stacked with food and water bowls in need of a good scrub. As Distribution Support Manager Jim H. washed, AEP retiree John S. stood by ready to dry.
Down the hall, other volunteers were busy washing and folding baskets filled with blankets, towels, animal beds and an assortment of linens while others deep-cleaned the cat play room and helped shelter staff prepare for an afternoon adoption event.
Volunteers also got time to walk several of the shelter dogs. Being cooped up is hard on the animals and the time to get out and run is critical to their health. They got lots of snuggles and pets, too.
In another part of the building, AEP/APCo volunteers filled gallon-size bags with hard food to provide families who come to the shelter in need of food for their cats and/or dogs. By providing struggling families with food for their pets, they are more likely to be able to keep than relinquish their four-legged family members.
Keeping families and pets together is a shelter priority.
After the event, APCo's Amanda C. and her daughter, Emma, quickly headed to a nearby store to pick up bags of dry food to bring back to the shelter. "Emma was adamant. There was no way we were going home without going to the store first."
In all, ten AEP/Appalachian Power employees, retirees and family members volunteered to help the RCACP on Saturday, Nov. 11.