Supporting local animal shelters and charitable businesses can seem daunting sometimes. But for this week, Zoo Knoxville has made it easy to do just that.
From Nov. 7 to Nov. 10 at the Knoxville Zoo, tickets have been reduced from their normal prices to $5, but only if if guests bring a charitable donation.
The charitable donation is not additional money but instead things like non-perishable food items, hygiene items, new child’s toys, dog food, cat food or new pet toys. However, no rawhide or bones are allowed. With these donations, guests will be able to purchase up to 12 tickets for the discounted price.
The four charities that the Zoo will donate the goods to are Knox Paws, Young-Williams Animal Center, the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley and Mission of Hope.
Young-Williams Animal Center provides care to animals, works to find homes for adoptable pets, provides spaying and neutering services and educational programs about animal welfare.
The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley is a no-kill rescue and adoption facility; they also offer a spay, neuter and vaccination clinic, dog training, educational services and volunteering opportunities.
Knox PAWS matches eligible seniors with adoptable pets and works with area animal shelters to bring senior pets and senior citizens together.
Although many of these charities are for animals, Mission of Hope is a volunteer organization providing assistance, aid and resources to those living in poverty-stricken areas in rural Appalachia. Donating items will help Mission of Hope stock their pantries before the holiday season rolls around and the demand for canned food items increases.
Tina Rolan, director of Marketing and Communications at Zoo Knoxville, explained the motivations behind the zoo’s participation in this event.
“The purpose of the event is to pay it forward. It is a win-win-win situation. The guests get to donate money for a good cause and also get to take an affordable trip to the zoo. The charities are able to stock their pantries for the upcoming holiday season and the zoo is able to support their mission: saving animals from extinction,” Rolan said.
Rolan also discussed why the donation item list includes dog food, cat food and pet toys.
“The event is for the families who will come to the zoo and many other pet owners out there because it makes more affordable for families to own pets,” Rolan said. “These donations are used to make it easier for families to be able to take care of their pets better by allowing them to get the supplies their pets need to be properly taken care of. The charitable donations for the animals will be very beneficial to their well-being and will help their owners be able to take the best possible care of them.”
Fletcher Haverkamp, the special events coordinator, is excited for what the event will be able to do for UT students as well.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for UT students to experience the Zoo while giving back to other organizations in the community. As a non-profit ourselves we are proud to support others that are making a local impact,” Haverkamp said.
For more information and tickets, everything can be found on the Zoo Knoxville’s website.