Students Helping Rescue Animals makes an impact at for animal shelters

Kelsey Roehrich

Students Helping Rescue Animals is a nonprofit organization where students can volunteer to help animal shelters and rescues throughout the state of Iowa.

Allie Bender, spring 2012 graduate, founded the organization as a sophomore in 2010. She said she has wanted to open up an animal shelter since she was 14 years old.

When Bender came to Iowa State, she was surprised to see there were no clubs offered that sent volunteers to animal shelters. She found a scholarship program for students that were doing something to make a difference in their community.

“I was amazed by people my age making such an impact,” Bender said. “I wondered why I had to wait to make a difference for homeless animals.”

Jacqueline Myers, president of Students Helping Rescue Animals and senior in animal science, said that each year, the club coordinates a 5K walk/run for “Wet Noses,” the Have a Heart Adoption Event during Veishea and bake sales. In addition, the club has educational events on subjects such as breed discrimination, puppy mills and more.

“The more people we can reach with our education events, the more we’re helping shelters and rescues for the future,” Bender said.

Also, the organization has a special fund for shelters called the “Vitae Fund.” This raises money for animals who need extra surgeries, physical therapy or behavior consultations that shelters may not be able to afford.

“So far, we have raised over $1,000 for shelters,” Myers said.

 Students should get involved if they want to help the animals in their community or learn more about homeless animals, Bender said. There are multiple levels which they can get involved — volunteering at shelters, baking for the bake sales or just coming to meetings to learn more about current events.

Student members of group are required to complete a minimum of two hours of volunteer service per semester, but students can put in as many hours as they want.

“A lot can be provided by volunteers,” Myers said. “Shelters don’t always have enough [money] to pay for people to help them.”

Bender said that being a part of Students Helping Rescue Animals has benefited her in many ways. She said she met many different people and got the hands-on experience that she needed in order to work with animals after graduation.

“Being able to give homeless animals more supporters for their cause is unequivocally the greatest thing [Students Helping Rescue Animals] could have ever given me in return,” Bender said.

Bender encourages students to get involved in some sort of philanthropic organization during their time at Iowa State.

“Volunteering and helping others is a great way to put our own lives into perspective and be thankful for what we have,” Bender said

Students Helping Rescue Animals is not associated with PETA or the Humane Society of the United States. “We are just trying to raise money to help animals,” Myer said.