Community Cats of Palm Coast, Flagler County’s largest cat-rescue organization, opened its new thrift store today in the Alamo Business Center at 4550 North US 1 in Bunnell to help fundraise and support a future adoption center in an adjoining location.
The goal is to raise another $10,000 to $15,000 to open the adoption facility within the next three to four weeks. Community Cats Executive Director Jessica Myers hopes the adoption center will be a safe drop-off, where cat owners can safely give their cat away instead of it being discarded somewhere or improperly rehomed.
Taking a “sky’s the limit” approach, Myers is confident that with the help of donations, volunteers, and passionate board members, the monetary goal will be met. The facility will have the space to take in more cats, ensure their safety, prepare them for adoption, give them the chance to find a “forever home,” and presumably spare anyone the trauma and sorrow of “Cat in the Rain.”
Founded as a non-profit in 2013 by Elizabeth Robinson, Community Cats’ goal was to reduce the county’s copious feral cat population and advocate for TNR–trap, neuter and release, at a time when Palm Coast was still more inclined to trap and euthanize. Robinson’s yearly yard sales sustained the fund-raising until 2019, when the organization opened its first thrift store in the revamped Island Walk shopping center off Palm Coast Parkway.
By then Myers, a veterinary technician experienced in TNR, had joined the organization, and with Robinson’s departure last year, took over as executive director. “We saw the potential,” Myers said, referring to the first thrift store. Today’s opening of the new location–the welcoming staff opened its doors at 10 a.m. with an abundance of thrift items to choose from–and plans for the adoption center are further signs of growth. Their new store and plans for the adoption center display it.
At the moment, Community Cats relies on several foster homes to take care of kittens. Many of the organization’s board members are experienced in fostering, but Myers’s aim is to open a facility where people can see the cats, and potentially adopt them, without having to visit a foster home.
“A lot of the cats are not feral, as in born in the wild back generations and generations, they’re more skittish strays,” Myers says. Most are the product of irresponsible pet owners who no longer take responsibility for the animal. “An adoption center will really, really, hopefully solve that problem.”
The new thrift store is the organization’s main source of income, requiring the move from the smaller venue at Island Walk. The store, considerably bigger than the previous one, accepts “anything from clothing to decorative to housewares to furniture and appliances,” as long as the merchandise is in good condition. With a bigger storage area and drop off zone dedicated to donations in the back of the building, anyone is able to donate even once the store is closed. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Community Cats of Palm Coast has an array of other fundraising options. The “cat head fundraiser,” as Myers calls it, is a campaign that accepts donations from all members of the community ranging from $50 to $200. People who donate receive a cut-out cat head dedicated to them on Community Cats of Palm Coast’s donor wall, a not-inconsiderable display of feline friendliness. In the coming months, the organization plans to have several events that continue to help support the community’s kitties such as a dance recital in June and an art auction in December.