Friends of Strays making it through pandemic

PRINCETON — Along with businesses, many local nonprofit organizations took a hit during COVID-19’s shelter-in-place order. Among those was Friends of Strays (FOS) no-kill animal shelter in Princeton.

With the Finders Keepers resale shop forced to close in mid-March, FOS lost out on sales that would have otherwise gone to help offset costs at the shelter.

Linda Sullivan, vice president of the FOS board, said curbside shopping helped with sales, however it didn’t come close to making up for the loss.

The resale shop was able to reopen its doors on May 30 and is now working to make up for it, however store hours have been reduce to three days a week — Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sullivan encourages shoppers to stop by the resale shop and check out what’s on the shelves. She said she’s grateful to see large donations from Walmart Distribution Center come into the shop. Walmart donates new items like swimming pools, microwaves, vacuums, etc., which always sell quickly.

During the shelter-in-place order, adoptions at FOS stayed steady for the most part, according to Bev Eden, president of the FOS board and director of the shelter.

The only holdup was that when pets are adopted from the shelter, they must be spayed or neutered. With veterinary clinics closed down, that backed up things a bit. Eden said things are catching up now.

The FOS board is looking forward to its most successful fundraiser of the year next month.

For the past eight years, the shelter has been a participant in the Birdies for Charity at the John Deere Classic.

While the July golf tournament has been canceled due to COVID-19, nonprofit organizations taking part will still benefit this year.

Typically how it works is donors pledge a “per birdie” donation for the charity of their choice. The number of birdies made in the tournament is how much money they donate.

With the tournament not being played this year, the organization is going with 2,000 birdies, which is an average number based on years prior.

Sullivan said last year, the FOS made $10,000 from this fundraiser.

“It’s a very simple way to donate, and it’s one of the biggest fundraisers we do,” she said.

A bonus is the John Deere Classic will donate a 5 percent match to each charity.

“Five percent doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up,” Sullivan said.

Pledges are due by July 1. Pledge sheets can either be picked up at the shelter or at Finders Keepers resale shop. For questions, call Sullivan at 815-866-2940.

Online donations can also be made at

While monetary donations are appreciated, other items like paper towels, Frisky cat food, and Pedigree or ALPO dog food are also needed at the shelter, as well.

The shelter is always looking for volunteers. Eden said if people commit to once a month or once a week, that will be helpful. Commitment is the key. There’s plenty to do around the shelter, besides cleaning. Tasks like folding laundry, walking the dogs or spending time with the cats is always appreciated.

The shelter is open Wednesday and Thursday from 1-4 p.m., Friday from 1-3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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