Organizing

Pet Adoption and Welfare Society of Carteret Vice President Donna Youraine organizes clothes racks the last week of May at the new PAWS Thrift & Gift Shoppe, which will open Saturday in Morehead City. (Cheryl Burke photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — After extensive damage from Hurricane Florence, the Pet Adoption and Welfare Society of Carteret will open its new thrift store Saturday.

The newly renovated PAWS Thrift & Gift Shoppe will open at 10 a.m. at 5243 Highway 70 West, near No Name Pizza.

PAWS Vice President Donna Youraine said this would be a soft opening, with a grand opening coming soon.

The store hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

“I’m so excited to have much of the hard work repairing and organizing the store finished,” Ms. Youraine said. “The damage to the store was just catastrophic. It’s like having a whole new building.”

It’s been an uphill battle for PAWS, a private, nonprofit animal welfare group, since the hurricane hit Sept. 13-14. The hurricane caused $100,000 worth of damage to the thrift store, as well as to the organization’s pet adoption center at 5042 Mattie St.

Ms. Youraine said PAWS had to repair the roof, ceilings, walls, floors, HVAC system and other items at the thrift store after the roof rolled back and allowed rain in.

While the building is insured, Ms. Youraine said she has not yet received a settlement, so the costs have been paid upfront, which has hit the organization hard.

The damage to the thrift store delayed its opening, as well as delayed completion of a new no-kill animal shelter PAWS is working to open as soon as possible at its adoption center.

Funds raised through the sale of thrift store items are used to pay overhead costs, care for foster animals and help finish the new shelter, which she estimates had $75,000 worth of damage from Florence.

“We had to focus on getting the thrift store open first to start generating income again,” she said. “Once we get the thrift store up and running, we can start focusing on getting fundraisers going to complete the shelter.”

The $1.5 million no-kill shelter is phase two of the PAWS Pet Adoption Center. Construction of the 9,750-square-foot building began in early 2017 and was nearing completion when Hurricane Florence hit, damaging the facility’s roof, HVAC system, ceilings, light fixtures and more.

Once the shelter opens, the facility will house up to 60 animals at full capacity and be outfitted with an income-producing hydrotherapy unit, used to rehabilitate animals with joint injuries. A small surgical unit is also included and will serve all animals in residence.

There will be a kitten room, feline play room, free-roaming cat rooms, canine visitation room for those considering adoption, dog kennels, restrooms and more.

Ms. Youraine said PAWS has been able to complete construction of the no-kill adoption center mortgage-free.

She estimates she still needs to raise more than $175,000 to purchase equipment and supplies prior to opening the shelter.

The list of needed equipment includes dryer and isolation cages, stainless steel cat cages, surgical equipment and supplies, equipment for the intake and exam rooms and more. PAWS is seeking sponsorships for the high-dollar items, such as the surgical equipment.

PAWS is also applying for grants to pay salaries for key personnel. While the organization has always been volunteer-run, Ms. Youraine said there will be salaried positions at the new adoption center.

“Once we get back on track, I plan to have an open house at the shelter so people can come in and see what is still needed to open,” Ms. Youraine said.

As for the thrift store, there are a variety of items to choose from, ranging from clothes to furniture and books.

The vice president said she plans to start accepting donations of items for the thrift store in July.

She also welcomes volunteers to help at the store.

“We are in need of cashiers,” she said.

Those interested in volunteering to help at the store can contact Ms. Youraine at 252-241-9408.

Those interested in donating to the no-kill center or to care for foster animals can mail checks to PAWS, 5042 Mattie St., Morehead City, NC 28557. They can also donate online at pawsofcarteret.org.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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