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Affordability is key for animals and people

Karen Kamachi   Apr-18-2019

Karen Kamachi and Eyal Lichtmann outside the RAPS Thrift Store on Francis Road.

Photo Martin van den Hemel


For RAPS, making life more affordable is at the centre of our mandate. It might surprise people that an animal-serving agency like RAPS is committed to addressing affordability.

Since our No. 1 objective is saving and improving the lives of animals, what does the cost of living in Metro Vancouver have to do with our work?

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The connection between affordability and our care for animals should not be surprising. The high cost of living makes it difficult for most of us to provide our families with everything they need and want. And animals are a beloved part of our families. RAPS exists to find forever homes for animals at the City of Richmond Animal Shelter and to operate the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, where hundreds of mostly unadoptable cats live out their lives surrounded by loving care.

But we don’t stop caring for animals once they are adopted. If we can help families that need a hand with their companion animals—whether they were adopted from us or not—that’s part of our mission.

For years, RAPS has provided subsidized veterinary care for animals in households with low incomes. We have operated a pet food bank, ensuring that no one has to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their companion animals. And we have delivered a range of under-the-radar services to animals and people in need.

Since we opened the RAPS Animal Hospital, a little more than a year ago, we have provided the community and other animal care agencies close to $400,000 in fully- or partly-subsidized veterinary care. This year, we intend to increase that amount substantially.

When we opened the hospital, it was to provide services for the animals in our care, and also to assist the public with affordable animal healthcare. The revenue generated from our services to the public are reinvested into saving and improving the lives of even more animals. Our goal is to help as many people and animals as possible, and to create healthy, happy and sustainable communities.

We may not be able to change the macro-economic reality of life in Metro Vancouver. But we can reduce the burden of animal health care costs, which is a critical aspect of a family’s budget.

As a result, we hope that more companion animals will receive regular checkups and routine care that ensures they remain healthy and happy.

There’s another way we help on the affordability front. The RAPS Thrift Store on Granville and the RAPS Animal Hospital Thrift Store on Francis in Richmond are destinations for savvy shoppers. We have a vast range of products, including clothing and household needs, at prices that even other thrift stores can’t match! (By the way, did you know that some thrift stores are for-profit ventures with only a fraction of revenue going to charity? RAPS Thrift Stores are run by a tiny staff and a small army of volunteers, with 100% of profits going directly to RAPS for animal care and to subsidize the hospital operations so we can keep the cost low for the public.)

The two RAPS Thrift Stores offer quality items at a tiny fraction of their retail costs. This helps the budgets of families in our community, while generating a crucial amount of money for the services RAPS delivers.

With this in mind, here are some easy ways to help RAPS save and improve the lives of animals.

First, shop at the RAPS Thrift Stores.

Second, consider donating gently used items, especially furniture and clothes, to RAPS when you do your spring cleaning or get some new items.

Third, choose the RAPS Animal Hospital, located at the Richmond Auto Mall, for your veterinary needs. Nobody likes to get a veterinarian’s bill … but at RAPS Animal Hospital, you know that you are getting competitive prices and all the revenue is being reinvested to save and improve the lives of even more animals.

Karen Kamachi is manager of the RAPS Animal Hospital Thrift Store.


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