A small shop, between the main downtown area and the train station of Plattsburgh, NY, has its windows filled with an array of unusual variety of Christmas and other items. Scurrying out of the shop to her car, Karen Salka, who manages the store with her husband Tom, quickly tosses a couple of bags into the backseat of her car before heading back inside to where a surprising number of people are perusing the inventory.
Originally, this location had been one of two stores that were revenue generating arms of the Adirondack Humane Society before the organization closed down. When the opportunity was to Karen and Tom who had managed the AHS stores, they jumped on board. Now running the aptly named Forgotten Felines Thrift Store, they are opened five days a week, but Karen states that if volunteers are interested and available, they would love to extend both days and times.
Karen said the store began with only Christmas items, but they have since expanded their offerings and have a little more variety, but from the windows and the store itself, Christmas is the main draw. That also seemed to be what was attracting the clientele happily looking through cookie tins and holiday decorations. Several transactions later, Karen shares that all the proceeds, following rent, utilities and expenses goes to Focus on Felines.
Focus on Felines, a 501(c)3 organization, has an all volunteer base was founded in 2011 with the intent of using different methods to work with the feral cat population without euthanasia. Servicing feral animals in the counties of Franklin and Clinton in northern New York, they operate a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. They return adult feral cats to their familiar habitat and place kittens and socialized cats with foster families while awaiting forever homes, including FIV+, FELV+, and special needs cats.
On the other side of the country operates another, although not-affiliated, thrift store, but the mission is the same. The Pick of the Litter Thrift & Gift Store was just recently voted Sonoma County’s Favorite Thrift Store by KZST area radio listeners. This store supports the organization called Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County, also a TNR program that supports fostering and, in particular, seeks, as they put it, “very special cat lovers only,” to be a part of their fospice or special needs kitties programs.
Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County seeks to place special needs kitties into specific homes and require particular accommodations. The fospice program permits the adoption of an older cat or a cat with health problems with the organization providing the medical care when and as needed. Their thrift store is the main source for all their funding and refer to the donated items they sell as “previously owned treasure.” With two stores, one in Santa Rose, CA, and a second in Petaluma, CA, as of December 2, 2015, they have been able to alter a total of 45 cats.
Whether located in the mid-Atlantic or northern California, with the help of a strong networking systems, volunteers, their stores, and on-going community support, organizations like Focus on Felines and Forgotten Felines of Sonoma Count hope to continue its important work for many years to come. In the meantime, with it being the holiday season, Karen hopes that there will be plenty of Christmas shoppers seeking their own treasure heading their way.