Spring flood update: Rescues bail out and move forward

It’s been a long end of the week for two Chicago area rescues that were heavily hit by basement flooding this week from the spring flood. Alive Rescue and Feral Fixers are now cleaning up and focusing on the future after a trying 48 hours. Both groups are also scrambling a little faster because they have fundraisers on the horizon – Feral Fixers’ Shop for Strays Bazaar is set for tomorrow and Alive Rescue’s annual Pet Bowl is next weekend.

Feral Fixers

The water’s have receded and the dumpster has arrived for clean up day at Tammy McAuley’s house after the spring flood. She is the president of Feral Fixers – a group that does Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in Lombard. When the water came rushing into her basement on Thursday morning, McAuley and her boyfriend rushed to action, rounding up 14 cats to move upstairs.

All kinds of supplies - food, litter, cat carriers and more - were housed in the basement of Feral Fixer's president.

All kinds of supplies - food, litter, cat carriers and more - were housed in the basement of Feral Fixer's president.

McAuley has been amazed at how quickly people stepped up. Her small organization is short on volunteers. However, when the word went out that the needed emergency foster care for 14 cats, volunteers stepped up and the cats were placed. As of Thursday night, over $800 had been donated to the group to help them re-coup from the flood. Today (Saturday) volunteers are helping McAuley clean up her basement and figure out what is salvageable.

Feral Fixers does Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) in the Lombard area. MacAuley takes in many of the friendly strays and cats recovering from illness and injury in her home. She also houses feral cats that need a place to stay caged until they may be released. She works with them until they are ready to move to foster. Her basement has an area set up as a safe haven for the cats as they became acclimated to living indoors again.

She lost much of their supplies – cat litter, food, office supplies and more. Along with cash donations, the group also could use gift cards from Walmart, Target, PetSmart, PetCo and Office Depot. The organization’s Shop for Stray’s Bazaar is from noon until 3 p.m. at the Villa Park VFW (details here). By stopping by to shop the vendors and bake sale, donate and participate in the raffle, you’ll be helping the group. The $3 donation goes back to Feral Fixers. Learn more here.

Feral Fixer's Shop for Strays Spring Bazaar is tomorrow. Details are in this flier.

Feral Fixer's Shop for Strays Spring Bazaar is tomorrow. Details are in this flier.

Several other groups are also pitching in with supply drives or donations – St. Sophia’s Forgotten Felines, Annie’s Little Angels, Wet Nose Pet Food Pantry and their sister organization Cat Guardians of Lombard. Over 400 stray cats were pulled from the streets and adopted last year thanks to Feral Fixers and their partners. MacAuley says she hopes that more people step up to help by volunteering after this crisis is over.

Alive Rescue

In Roscoe Village in Chicago, it was sewage water that swept through the basement at Alive Rescue’s new adoption center – The Little Barn. The organization is set to hold their grand opening on May 5th and the adoption center is not even officially open yet.

For Alive Rescue, it was all their supplies - including donations for upcoming events - that were in the basement. Their basement flooded with sewage.

For Alive Rescue, it was all their supplies - including donations for upcoming events - that were in the basement. Their basement flooded with sewage.

When the sewage water retreated, volunteers went in with shovels and bleach. The area was hosed down and cleaned several times over. As of Friday, the furnace and hot water heater were in working order according to organization founder Kristen Gerali.

“We usually don’t use bleach here because it’s not good for the animals, but we had to as we started cleaning up all the sewage from the basement,” says Gerali. “We went to Home Depot for shovels, masks, squeegees and other supplies. We pulled on rubber boots and went to work.”

The good news is that there are very few animals at The Little Barn and they were safe upstairs. The bad news is that the group’s big fundraiser – The Pet Bowl – is Saturday, April 27. Many of the gift baskets, auction items and the food and drinks for that event were housed in the basement.

As of Friday afternoon, a team of volunteers had stepped up and Gerali says many of the gift bags and auction items had been up high enough. The food and alcohol had to be tossed. They had removed what they could to their courtyard area and upstairs to assess what was usable and what wasn’t.

Alive Rescue's Pet Bowl is Saturday, April 27.

Alive Rescue's Pet Bowl is Saturday, April 27.

The heavy rains also revealed that there could be a leaky roof. Water flooded into the kitchen and did some damage to the wall. They will work on tackling that issue after the Grand Opening on May 5. Alive has set up a fundraising account to pay for clean up and repairs on YouCaring and had raised almost $2,800 so far. The group could also use more auction items and will know more next week what is needed for their grand opening.

There are also tickets available still for the Pet Bowl at Lincoln Square Lanes at 4874 North Lincoln in Chicago. Learn more about the event here and purchase advance tickets here. Bowling sign up is in shifts with one group at 6 p.m. and one at 8 p.m. The Grand opening will be on Sunday, May 5 at The Little Barn at 2227 West Belmont in Chicago from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. We’ll have details about that in a future post.

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