At Voorhees Animal Orphanage, the sentiment, “I get by with a little help from my friends” often applies to our daily operations. Our small, but mighty staff of volunteers is essential to our work and make all the difference in the lives of our animals.
Take Cherry Hill resident Barbara Patrizzi, for example. A cytotechnologist at Axia Women’s Health in Phoenixville, Pa., Barbara has been a longtime animal advocate and had been volunteering with a cat rescue in Philadelphia in her spare time. After moving back to Cherry Hill to care for her ill father, she decided to continue volunteering with animals at a local shelter – that’s when she found VAO.
“It’s easy to volunteer here,” said Barbara. “VAO has a great volunteer training program, flexible hours and the people are just wonderful.”
After Barbara’s mother passed away in 2015 and her father in 2018, she decided to do something to honor them. The opportunity to donate to VAO came naturally to her.
“My parents were both avid animal lovers. My mom adopted her cat, Bonnie, from VAO. She was a beloved family member – probably the favorite child,” Barbara fondly remarked.
“Bonnie was a constant companion for both of my parents while they were sick. When VAO started planning for a new facility, I knew a donation would be the perfect way to remember my parents.”
Barbara made a generous $100,00o donation for the naming rights to the new lobby – The Joseph J. and Jacqueline R. Patrizzi Atrium – in memory of her parents. The donation tipped VAO’s million dollar mark for their Capital Campaign, “Building for a Pawsitive Future.” VAO’s goal is to raise $1.6 million to help build an amazing shelter for dogs and cats as they embark on their journey toward their forever homes.
“Animals give so much to us, and they ask so little in return. I believe it’s our responsibility as a community to care for our most vulnerable animals.”
At VAO, all animals are welcomed – stray, abandoned or lost. None are turned away, and they are given a second chance at life.
“The staff is very diligent about finding the right owner for the animals. If you look at the turnover rate, the animals never stay at the orphanage for long.”
Barbara’s time volunteering with VAO has shown her just how critical the volunteers are to the shelter.
“The staff and volunteers are incredibly dedicated and hard working. I’ve been able to see what they can do with limited resources – it’s quite miraculous.”
That’s why Barbara’s donation is so special – it’s supporting a lifelong dream of the orphanage to have a bigger and better shelter – a dream that never seemed possible. With Barbara’s help, the animals have a fresh start.
“I’m so excited to be a part of a safer, more efficient, more attractive and larger facility. I can’t wait to see the finished product.”