Rincón is a small town and I am lucky enough to know a lot of people. Some rescue organization members from other organizations have asked “How does ARF do it? How ARF has become successful?” Well the answer is easy: COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT.
When I became president, I sat down with past ARF Board members and I asked what have worked in the past and what had not. I also asked the Community of Rincón what were their expectations from a non-profit animal rescue organization. I took my time to sit down and chat with members of Rincon’s municipal agencies, including the mayor, as well as business owners around the town. After all their input, ARF Board Members had a meeting and made a plan. We came to the conclusion that the root of the problem regarding the overpopulation of stray dogs and cats was that their owners did not spay or neuter their dogs, mostly because it costs too much for them. We then decided to start our LOW COST ESTERILIZATION PROGRAM with Dr. Cruz. In addition we started to educate pet owners about the importance of sterilization and we did so by giving lectures at Rincon Schools. A new student community hour program in which students learned the responsibility of being a pet owner and its commitment was created. We worked closely with the social workers of the “Housing Projects” and their residents. Due to tough economic times, many residents have moved to the USA and some even abandoned their pets. We then started the program “TAKE ME WITH YOU” to help people to move with their pets at a low cost.
We did all this thanks to an amazing team. ARF of Rincón consists of 7 board members, 13 active volunteers, barrio leaders and a lot of members of the community. Some help daily, some help when they are called or simply they help when they can. We work together with other rescue organizations around Puerto Rico, sharing their post, helping them to find homes to their pets as well as sharing donated food.
We do not receive money from the government or from grants. At the present moment, we do not have major donors. We receive money from individuals like you and me that see and believe in what we do. Our largest individual donation last year was 750.00. We have people who donate $20.00, 50.00 or 100.00 every month. A new program to ask companies and organization to help us was created: ADOPT ARF FOR ONE DAY. We also sell merchandises (stickers, cozies, key chains, and t shirts) and, during the year, we have fundraising events that help us pay our monthly bills. What this means is that our budget is small, but we have managed to make Rincon residents assume their responsibility as pet owners. We understand we have a long way to go.
Where do your donations go?
ARF of Rincon does not have employees; we are 100% Volunteers, which means that none of us are paid for our volunteering work. Rincon’s Mayor, Hon. Carlos Lopez, gave us an office, in which we can have direct contact with the community and it’s completely free. Our Vet Bills can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per month, depending on rescues situations. Our monthly expenses (dog and cat food for fosters, transportation to vets, crates, animal shampoos, leashes, collars, carry- on bags, etc ) range from $300 to $500. Regarding office expenses (paper, ink, internet, cleaning supplies, etc) can range between $200 and $300. Our traveling expenses (sending dogs to the United States) every month range from $800 to $1500.
We have a long way to go and we, in ARF of Rincon, are not giving up. If you want to help feel free to call our office at 939 697-8161 (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10am to 1pm). If you want to donate you can do so by using PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to send a check you can mail it to ARF of Rincon, PO BOX 592, Rincon PR 00677.
ARF Board President