In early March, Natalia Wnorowska, an animal lover who has adopted and fostered dogs and cats from the Save the Animals Rescue Team II (START II) shelter, pulled up to the building with a van bursting with needed supplies. All of the items – blankets, food, cleaning products, toys and more – were donated by generous people across the NY-NJ-CT area who were touched by our mission and the good work START II does.


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It started when Natalia placed request for donations in a Facebook group for Polish women living in the U.S. To make it easier, she offered to pick the items up. She never anticipated what happened next.

She made trip after trip to homes around New Jersey, picking up donated items and storing them in her basement. In New York City, there were so many people offering to donate that some contributors acted as “hubs,” collecting the supplies from their neighborhoods to limit the number stops Natalia would have to make. One Saturday she asked her father to drive with her to New York City. They spent almost all day crossing the boroughs, picking up so many items, their SUV was packed full.

“I couldn’t see my father in the driver’s seat and each time we came to a stop sign, a box of treats or roll of paper towels would fall on our heads,” she recalled. At their last stop, her father got out to pick up the donation, a box full of random pet items. The car was so full that Natalia could not open her door to take the box, so she rolled down the window and her father tossed the items into the car one-by-one.

The START II employees – not to mention the resident dogs and cats – are extremely grateful for the supplies, which took Natalia, her husband Peter and two other people about an hour to unload. “We are well stocked now for months to come,” says kennel manager Jodi. “That’s very reassuring for a charity like ours that relies heavily on donations.”

Natalia says she is touched and overwhelmed by the generosity of her Polish Facebook community, most of whom are strangers or relative strangers. “They are angels,” Natalia says.

 

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They spent almost all day crossing the boroughs, picking up so many items, their SUV was packed full. “I couldn’t see my father in the driver’s seat and each time we came to a stop sign, a box of treats or roll of paper towels would fall on our heads.” Natalia recalled

It took 4 people almost an hour to unload the donations

The START II employees – not to mention the resident dogs and cats – are extremely grateful for the supplies

Story and photos by Robin Bardell