If you can peel, chop, slice, and dice your way through baskets and bushels of produce, Carolina Waterfowl Rescue appreciates your kitchen skills.
The all-volunteer organization that cares for injured and abandoned wildlife recently lost their key source of food when a regional grocery chain suddenly withdrew its support. The donations had been in place for three years and ceased without warning, according to Director Jennifer Gordon, who said, “I was in shock.” She took to social media and posted on Facebook: “Does anyone here work in a grocery store or restaurant?”
Faster than a goose can gobble grapes, Super G Mart, Providence Produce Market, and another source in Rock Hill stepped up. But that created a new problem: finding enough volunteers to prepare the food for about 1,000 animals – about 60 percent waterfowl – at the Indian Trail sanctuary.
“We don’t have refrigeration,” Gordon explained. “We need to get it out quickly because we can’t store it.” When she asked CWR’s Facebook group for help, more than 500 people replied. Others left messages.
A few days ago, “Someone came with two van-loads of food,” Gordon reported. CWR welcomes such generosity but has had to get creative to manage the workload. One solution? Farming out the food prep. “Families can pick up food and do the prep at home,” she said. Since children under 16 aren’t allowed to work on the CWR site, this allows younger kids to take part.
“We can take any type of fresh fruits or vegetables, cucumbers, tomatoes, or berries. Songbirds need fruit and berries,” Gordon explained in an interview last week. “You want that cardinal to find something he recognizes to eat,” such as the blackberries that grow locally.
It’s a big task to manage care of ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, songbirds, swans, pigeons, peacocks, pheasants, and cockatiels; not to mention the occasional pot-bellied pig or mini-donkey. (Some animals may be adopted according to the organization’s rules.)
Now, the ongoing challenge will be coordinating the new donations and the volunteers. The operation runs seven days a week, year round, and won’t slow down until winter arrives. To learn more, visit Carolina Waterfowl Rescue on the web or on Facebook.