The Launch of a New Food Donation Program

Launching New Food Donation Program

What if the wolf, Windwalker, could use his naturally strong jaws to rip meat from the bone without costing Wildlife Waystation any money?

What if you knew Squirt, Cappy and Josephine, the capuchins, would have an endless supply of cantaloupe, apples and bananas for free?

What if you could help Wildlife Waystation feed its animals forever?

The nutritional well-being of countless animals for generations is in all of our hands. Wildlife Waystation is launching a new Food Donation Program that will change our future -- and the future of every animal that passes over our doorstep.

All it takes is one big jump-start from all of you to launch us.

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The Problem

At the beginning of this year, our meat supplier notified us that they would no longer be able to meet our needs. For many years, Wildlife Waystation purchased red meat for our carnivores at approximately $0.86/lb. Since we use more than 6,000 lbs. of red meat per month, this was already a hefty budget.

To identify a new supply chain, we cooperated with the California Department of Agriculture and USDA, the agencies that regulate animal food consumption. We have been unable to source red meat for less than $2.57/lb. This means our red meat costs have already skyrocketed. We anticipate an increase from $86,000 to over $190,000 annually. We operate on a lean budget and this will severely challenge our ability to provide the best quality diet to our animals.

The Solution

We refuse to compromise the health and nutrition of our animals because of costs, so we are launching a Food Donation Program. We are enrolling in a program matching charities with big chain stores to accept food that would otherwise end up in a landfill. We are excited about this program for numerous reasons:

  • The food is a higher, human-grade quality than what we currently feed out to our animals.
  • It supports an ethical commitment to animal rights and welfare by using food that would otherwise be discarded.
  • We will be providing a community service by keeping excess food waste out of landfills.
  • We are offering these stores tax deductions for their donations.
  • The program is based upon a similar, proven model already employed by other sanctuaries in Southern California.
  • We will be able to collect the red meat we need and also all other kinds of meat, fruits, vegetables, greens and nuts. These items will not only meet our animals nutritional needs, but also provide increased variety.
  • This program will cover the bulk of our food costs annually with only minimal supplementation for chows, seeds, hay and vitamins.
  • The equipment purchased for this program can be used for other needs such as rescues, evacuations and transporting animals to medical procedures off ranch.
I want to support this program!

How it Works

The program will pay for itself within 18 months. In the coming years Wildlife Waystation can save a million dollars in less than 5 years. This is money that can then be used to improve housing, husbandry and care for our residents in other ways.

We've already secured more than one-half of what we need to get started thanks to an incredible donation of $100,000 from the Stanley W. Ekstrom Foundation. We still need to raise an additional $80,000 to purchase the appropriate equipment including a truck with the capacity to haul a 36' trailer modified with air conditioning units, food storage barrels, staffing, walk-in freezer/refrigeration on site at the ranch, and landfill fees to manage packaging waste.

After we purchase the required equipment, one staff person is tasked with collecting off-the-shelf, human-grade quality food from 10-12 big chain stores multiple times per week around Southern California. The donated food is then processed at our commissary based upon the nutritional needs established by our veterinarians.

How it Helps Our Animals

This program will help us to improve the lives of our animals:

  • Our big cats will get large racks of meat on the bone to better mimic natural behavior, which helps to strengthen their neck muscles -- something that is imperative for the health of a geriatric tiger like Ginseng.
  • We often cannot purchase berries and nuts because they are too expensive, but now Tequila and Whiskey, our red foxes, bears Brett, Amos, Timber and Mishka, dozens of birds like Sunshine & Asia, small primates like Rowdy and Benny will have the chance to forage for these treats in their enclosures.
  • Being able to have a heavy duty truck to move bales of hay to our horses, like Flower, Rosie, Hope & Smokey, since our road has collapsed in the rains this year will make their lives better.
  • An air-conditioned trailer to transport animals under anesthesia on intensely hot days, or during the next emergency, improves care and extends lives of animals.

How Can You Help?

There is a pressing need to get Food Donation Program going immediately. The longer it takes us to raise these funds, the more money will be diverted from other important areas to keep the animals fed. This is a very real burden for Wildlife Waystation. We cannot limit the kind of life we can offer these animals.

Each and every dollar contributed toward this program goes toward the greater goal of feeding the animals. Your gift helps us purchase a truck, a hitch, a trailer, food barrels, a power washer, cold storage units and helps us to manage the program. Every component is absolutely essential to make it work.

We need your help to raise an additional $80,000.

Please help us feed our animals and change the way we operate.

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The Specifics of What We Need:

Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 extended cab with powertrain warranty: The ranch currently does not own a heavy duty vehicle built to pull a trailer loaded with 25,000 lbs. of food up winding mountain roads. $64,000 including taxes with licensing.

Trailer Hitch: This specific tow package "talks" to the trailer to compensate for weight loads shifting at speed and is reliable for heavy hauling. $8,000.

36' Wells Cargo Trailer modified with two AC units: This trailer is modified with built-in specifications for loading and unloading barrels of food and keeping them at a safe temperature during transport. $22,500.

Food Barrels: Heavy duty Rubbermaid trash cans are ideal to handle freezing, washing and repeated use. 20 barrels per chain store x 10 stores totals $8,800.

Walk-in Freezer/Refrigerator: We currently have limited space for large items and for the increase food this program would provide. $14,000.

General Fees including: Program management, landfill fees, pressure washer, modifications for trailer and truck, generator for refrigeration, maintenance fees. Approximately $62,000.

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