No matter how many times we dip into the well, Niagara Falls Humane Society only seems to deliver outstanding people. Our focus this time is on Lisa Maroney.
Lisa started Empties For Animals, a collection effort of returnable empty beer, wine and liquor bottles that raises money to help the shelter animals at the Niagara Falls Humane Society. Less than a year old and having already raised $5000 for the shelter, Lisa’s efforts are making a huge impact.
Her original inspiration came from the idea that she was returning empties and, not really needing the money, she would donate it to the shelter. A spark of an idea began and Lisa realized she wanted to turn this into something much bigger than herself. After sitting down with Cathy Fugler, Communications Director at NFHS, they collectively grew this idea into something very real.
“It’s like being brought into a family there.” Lisa explains about working with NFHS. Quick to call it a ‘natural connection,’ she is extremely happy with how Empties For Animals is working out. All of the money goes into the shelter. Any advertising they can do comes through donations as well.
Lisa has strived to remove most roadblocks that come with returning empties. Anyone who has dealt with the sticky, heavy mess of returning empties knows what a pain it can be. Lisa has offered pick-ups to several people. Some elderly people will collect from their neighbours and will have a couple of boxes for her. This means they don’t have to handle them or haul anything heavy. It’s such a simple way to support the shelter!
“Sometimes all people want is the physical help to get it out.” Lisa shares. She’s been in people’s basements where it’s just a matter that they cannot haul the boxes up the stairs. The Empties For Animals program has a trailer for collecting large volumes of empties, which Lisa will happily accept. Any time there is an event, Lisa strives to publicize their program in the hope that they will donate their empties.
With no website and nearly all promotion done through Facebook, Lisa is slowly approaching different markets. Her biggest goals are weddings and wineries. She has developed signage for anyone willing to donate their empties from a stag and doe or wedding. The signs are adorable and it will immediately show you are supporting the shelter.
As Dan and I sat in the small space interviewing her for this article, one thing kept sticking in my mind — Lisa pays for this out of her own pocket. I was sitting in a building that a kind and generous person rents to help collect money for a cause. Wow.
Lisa was getting overwhelmed at home with the empties in her garage. After a large collection in the Summer, she would unload all the empties into the garage and when it was time to get her lawnmower, she’d have to move all the empties again. It was a hassle and the new space has been working out really well.
“It’s not a great-looking space but it’s clean and dry.” Lisa is quick to point out. There are sinks in the back, a can-crushing device, and plenty of storage. Everything is very environment-friendly and, with all the cardboard they receive, recycling is high priority. Surprisingly, the place smelled really clean and didn’t reek of liquor like I was secretly expecting. Kudos!
“We were thinking of adapting the front section into another cat Adoption Centre” Lisa explains but points out they are lacking a willing individual to manage it. If there are any cat lovers out there who are jumping at the chance to spend all day with some purring friends, please let her know.
The Empties For Animals program would definitely benefit from any volunteers that would like to help out, especially on collection days. It’s a physically demanding but very rewarding task!
Lisa has made many memories that have made this entire effort worthwhile. Usually when people come in for the first time, they are quick to share stories about the pets they’ve lost, why they want to bring their empties, why they support NFHS, or about a great pet they’ve gotten from the shelter that’s made a difference in their lives.
After seeing her success, Niagara Falls Humane Society has asked Lisa to be co-chair for their Fundraising Committee. Already brimming with terrific ideas, she was quick to share several with us.
The development she discussed in great length and passion was their plans for a Memorial Garden and Cemetery at the shelter. NFHS currently has a small cemetery but their goal is to expand and enhance this. The plans are for a separated area with a garden for people to sit and over a little bridge (to symbolize Rainbow Bridge) will host the expanded cemetery. “There’s nowhere in Niagara where you can put your pets to rest. I’m worried that if I’m gone, what will happen to my pet’s ashes? Will they be treated with respect?” This new project will be a place where she can place them with love.
Empties For Animals
4541 Crysler Ave
Niagara Falls, ON L2E 3V5
Regular Collection Times:
Tuesday & Saturday, 11am to 2pm
Other Collection Methods:
The Love Boat Cove Bar & Grill has an outdoor drop box available 24 hours a day.
Woof “n” Mew collects on behalf of Empties For Animals inside their store.
Niagara Falls Humane Society
The Niagara Falls Humane Society helps find loving homes for unwanted and mistreated animals, as well as trying its best to reunite lost pets with their rightful owners.
The NFHS provides a safe haven for pets in limbo, before they are placed in a new home. The Society tries to alleviate the suffering of all animals and to eliminate euthanasia as a method of population control for pets. At the NFHS, no healthy adoptable animal will ever be euthanized.
Visit The NFHS Directory Page For More Information