A Castro Valley girl is stepping up to make a significant impact in the wake of the Oakland Zoo’s news that it is losing millions of dollars and may have to close forever because to the unexpected coronavirus outbreak.
Andy Soulard, 6 years-old girl, created a Facebook page on July 4 with a little help from her mother, asking people to donate money to help the zoo make up for its nearly $2 million monthly income loss.
“Andy loves the Oakland Zoo and was devastated to learn they may need to close down forever,” she writes on her Facebook page. “She’s going to start the fundraiser by contributing the $5 she got from the Tooth Fairy this week.”
Andy has put up big numbers since that initial post, raising more than $109,000 as of Friday afternoon.
“100% of your donations will go to the Zoo!” the message goes on to state. She’s also producing bracelets for everyone who donates more than $25.”
Andy is currently working on 400 bracelets with the support of classmates and friends for the tidal wave of contributors who have already qualified to receive the beaded baubles.
Messages of love and support, in addition to money, have been coming in.
“You’re incredible!” “Both my husband and I are donating,” Nancy Clark stated. “I wanted to tell you about my family’s history with the Zoo, which began in 1922. I used to spend much of my time at the Zoo when I was your age. My sister and I also assisted our grandparents and parents by selling tickets and food, as well as playing and feeding the animals.”
“I am extremely hopeful that your generosity, along with the support of the community, will preserve the Zoo’s survival for another 100 years,” Clark wrote. “We’ll get through the epidemic and continue to protect and conserve animals – we have to.”
“Wow!!!! Take a look at what you’ve achieved, little one! You’re a superstar! Thank you so much for making this possible. Judy Waller commented, “You have made a difference and are an example to all of us.”
Supporters believe that this level of enthusiasm will help the zoo stay afloat until limitations on public meetings are removed.
“We are really appreciative for her dedication and generosity in supporting us, and we hope to have her over for a special visit soon to thank her in person,” zoo spokeswoman Erin Harrison said.
The zoo costs around $1 million to operate each month, according to Harrison, and it now has about $3.2 million in a reserve account that can assist keep the lights on and the animals cared for.
Zoo officials are also asking that Alameda County file for a state exemption so that the zoo can reopen its doors.
If that happens, Harrison estimates that it would be able to run at around one-third capacity, which will be enough to keep the zoo afloat until the public health limitations are repealed.