The South Orange Animal Coalition worked for 25 years saving strays from kill shelters. Tragically in 2014 this shelter closed, which left Maplewood and South Orange with no animal shelter. All strays are now taken by shelters in neighboring towns which don't have a no kill policy. Which means helping the shelters we do have means so much more. Girl Scouts cadettes Natasha Lyons and Andrea Rebimbas are working to spread awareness of how you can help your local shelter. They worked with a no kill shelter in Rockaway, New Jersey that is fighting to spread awareness on how you can support stray animals as well.

The Eleventh Hour Rescue is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping animals find a forever home. Not only do they take in strays, they also act as a no kill shelter. This means that they do not kill healthy or treatable animals even if the shelter is full. It also means that they may take in stray animals from other rescue shelters that do not have the space or means to care for the animals. Eleventh Hour is one of the 14,000 no kill shelters in the country fighting to make sure all pets have a forever home.

Eleventh Hour Rescue is mostly run by volunteers, but also have a large number of staff that help them to run on a daily basis. One of their many amazing staff members is named Rosie. Rosie volunteered at SOS pets for a long time and decided she was ready to move up and spend more time helping animals in her area. She ended up getting a job at Eleventh Hour’s adoption facility in Rockaway, New Jersey, and since then she has moved up to be one of the managers in the location. Eleventh Hour not only allows adults to volunteer, but also younger kids seeking a way to help some amazing animals without bringing one home. Eleventh Hour loves to take in new volunteers and help that you would be willing to give.

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Eleventh Hour also gives many opportunities to get involved with them and helping out their animals. They go to many events such as Puptoberfest and Dog Walk of the Dead to show off and spread awareness of their animals for adoption.

There are many ways you can help your local shelter. You can take part in interacting with the animals by adopting an animal or going to one of their locations and volunteering by registering at your shelter’s website. If you don’t want to or don’t have time to interact with the animals you can make a donation of supplies or money. This can help the shelter better support their animals and it always helps.

Natasha Lyons and Andrea Rebimbas are students at Columbia High School.