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Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens lost a portion of its annual revenue when
weddings had to be canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 restrictions, it adopted out 183 animals and fostered
“This community has shown nothing but amazing support
during this time,” president and CEO Frank Valente said. “We had
to close our thrift stores completely and limit shelter visits by
appointment only. We implemented a virtual adoption program
which proved very successful and the animals thrived in homes
where they were fostered. Many of those fosters turned into
Luckily, the organization’s gala took place in February so only
a couple of smaller fundraisers had to be restructured to a virtual
platform. A PPP loan was secured and a grant from the Bissell
Foundation underwrote some of the adoptions. Hill Science Diet
donated food to the HSTC as well as to the House of Hope pet
pantry. In May, volunteers with Misty’s Pals, the humane society’s
pet therapy program, took pets to window visits with the residents
of Symphony of Stuart, an assisted care facility.
The humane society’s two thrift stores in Stuart are open
Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers are
required to wear masks and the number of people in the store is
limited. All services at the Palm City shelter, including adoptions,
are by appointment only.
What has become overwhelmingly evident is the spirit of volunteering
only accelerated during the pandemic.
At the PSL Botanical Gardens, volunteers still came out, decked
in masks and gloves, to pull weeds and trim bushes. The garden is
supported 100 percent through philanthropy and has no paid employees,
so it relies on revenue generated through gift and plant
sales and rental of the grounds for special events and weddings.
“Obviously weddings were canceled and brides were disappointed,
but most of them simply postponed their big day because
the garden was their venue of choice,” board member Judy
Nash-Wade said. “We are optimistically rescheduling for the fall
and working diligently to keep the gardens in pristine condition.”
Nonprofits need help now, more than ever, both financially and
physically. It’s time to dig a little deeper into hearts and wallets
to make sure that these organizations continue to thrive during
these difficult times. v