Community News

Last Hope gets $10K in grants


The Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation shelter in Wantagh recently received two $5,000 grants to help fund its services.

Last Hope Animal Rescue is a non-profit group that receives all its funds from grants, donations and fundraisers. These grants from Banfield Charitable Trust and the BISSELL Pet Foundation will help the shelter tend to animal overpopulation that is present throughout Long Island.

The grants will provide Last Hope with the opportunity to continue its services. According to Joanne Anderson, the outreach coordinator for Last Hope, volunteers were very excited to hear they received the two grants. “You are always hoping you get them. You are always thrilled when you do,” she said. “You are up against so many other organizations around the country. They look at everything that you do.”

Anderson explained that there is a very strict application process that the shelter must complete in order to receive the grants. She added that there is also a strict protocol on how the shelters can spend the grant money.

The grant received from Banfield Charitable Trust will be used to help those experiencing hard economic times pay their bills so they can keep their pets. “The goal is to keep people and their pets together,” Anderson said. She added that the grant restricts any person participating in the program from receiving more than $500. This grant will be able to assist, at a minimum, 10 people.

According to Anderson, the BISSELL Pet Foundation’s grant will be used to support the animal rescue’s “Fix-a-Feral” program. This program helps take in and assist feral cats. These are cats that were once domesticated but have returned to the wild. Anderson says the program spays and neuters the cats.

BISSELL Pet Foundation coordinator, Joanna Randozzo, said, “The BISSELL Pet Foundation is proud to support organizations that advocate every day for pets in need. We believe this grant to Last Hope Animal Rescue will have a big impact on cat overpopulation in the Long Island community.”

Last Hope came to Wantagh four years ago and is located on Beltagh Avenue, across from the high school. Anderson said that so far the public has been “fabulous.”

“We have people walking through the door that are absolute pet owners,” she said. “The change has been especially dramatic for dogs.”

Because of the local support, the shelter has seen increased success. Anderson said that in 2014, the shelter was able to find new homes for 260 dogs and 568 cats.

However despite the growth, volunteer Cheryl Redash says that people still ask her where Last Hope is located. She says that as the public hears more about the animal rescue, she expects its success to further increase.

Redash attributes much of that success over the years to its coordinator, Letty Canal. She says Canal creates a volunteer schedule and manages the behind-the-scenes operations of the rescue center. “Without her, we wouldn’t be able to operate,” Redash said about Canal’s importance to the program.

Last Hope Animal Rescue is a non-profit shelter that is operated by more than 500 volunteers. Along with grants and donations, the shelter hosts a variety of fundraisers throughout the year. Recently, the shelter hosted a wine-tasting event where attendees paid $45 for a light supper, wine and dessert. Fundraisers like this one will be held throughout the year.

Redash said, “Last Hope survives off of fundraising. These fundraising events are critical for our success.”

She also stressed that Last Hope is a pet rescue, not a animal shelter. “We bring dogs to save them, not to put them down,” Redash said. “Come down to Last Hope, and don’t shop, adopt.”