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Correction officers lend hand to SPCA

PERU - Elmore SPCA has had a tough few years, but through the continued support of social and civic organizations and the general community, things are continuing to look up, representatives say.

Carol M. Solari-Ruscoe, a member of the animal shelter's board of directors, said financial troubles which have plagued the shelter since last year have lessened thanks to the generosity of the North Country. Most recently, Elmore SPCA received a $750 donation from the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, which represents correction officers at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. The shelter was one of several organizations to receive a portion of more than $10,000 from the association.

"Our first reaction was 'Wow! What an unexpected and wonderful surprise,'" said Solari-Ruscoe.

Gordon E. LaBonte, a steward for NYSCOPBA, said the donation was a first for the association's members, who have traditionally used the fund to purchase one another gifts during the holidays.

"We usually buy insulated coffee cups, lunch pails," said LaBonte. "We thought this would make people's holidays a lot brighter instead."

LaBonte credited the association's membership for their generosity, hoping the donation could help the SPCA as well as Hannah's Hope Fund, WPTZ's Toys for Kids, the Plattsburgh Interfaith Foodshelf and the Adirondack Humane Society, which also received funding.

"We all chose to donate the money this year and it feels a lot better than the small trinkets that we would've bought ourselves," he said.

The donation comes at a crucial time for the shelter, said Solari-Ruscoe, as efforts are continuing to be stepped up to keep the shelter financially above water. The SPCA board has devised a new fundraising initiative, the "Elmore SPCA 1,200 Club," which Solari-Ruscoe said aims to attract financial support in a "less painful" way.

"One of our volunteers came up with the idea. She told us if we need to raise money for $12,000 a month in operating expenses, it would be easier if we were able to get 1,200 people to donate $10 a month," said Solari-Ruscoe. "When you look at it that way, you're talking about a person donating only 33 cents a day. If we can get enough people to do that, it would really help."

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