Caring Creatures

Nearly 100 children and adults made the annual “Zombie Walk” down Highway 41 Oct. 17, as they made an appearance at the Raley’s and Vons shopping centers requesting donations for the Eastern Madera County SPCA from anyone brave enough to face them.

It was the sixth year for the event organized by Vickie Deane, owner of A Cause 4 Paws Thrift Shop.

“After years of fundraising, the EMC SPCA is getting close to raising enough funds to build the much-needed animal shelter in Ahwahnee,” Deane said. “We are glad this event can help with that effort.”

Kaitlen Krusen, 21, was participating for the first time.

“I’ve seen the walk in the past and thought it was a pretty neat and a fun thing to do ... plus a good fundraiser for the SPCA,” Krusen said.

Hailey Gunn, 10, who recently moved to Oakhurst from Los Angeles, saw the walk last year, and participated this year with her mom and dad.

“The Zombie Walk is cool, and I’ve been waiting all year to do this,” Gunn said.

After the walk, everyone returned to Deane’s store for an “Undead After Party,” complete with music, dancing, food, a haunted walk for children with zombie clowns and pirates, and about 350 raffle prizes.

Justin Linderholm, 12, dressed as a zombie clown, was awarded $100 and a large trophy for winning the best zombie costume contest.

This year, several sponsoring businesses, including Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Jack in the Box, and DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant pledged a percentage of their sales on special “zombie” days for the people who participated in the event.

The requested donation was $5 for every participant and chaperone.

During the prior walks, the zombies collected a total of $5,000 for this worthwhile nonprofit organization. The thrift shop is locally known as a cat rescue and they have found homes for more than 500 abandoned cats and kittens. They also donate a $500 scholarship each year called the “Future Veterinarian Award.”

In the six years of the event, close to $6,000 has been raised for the EMC SPCA.

“Having a local business support our SPCA is very important to us,” said Sharon Fitzgerald, president of the EMC SPCA. “Vickie Deane, owner of A Cause 4 Paws, enlisted other area businesses to offer discount coupons to the Zombies and when redeemed, those businesses in turn will make donations to the our Shelter Fund.”

Fitzgerald said after several months of dealing with drainage issues at the shelter site near Wasuma Elementary School, the shelter committee will meet with its civil engineer, architect, and county officials at the property of solve the problems so they can proceed.

“The next step is having the grading permit issued, put grading out to bid, then having the long-awaited ground breaking,” Fitzgerald added.

Deane thanked all the volunteers and the community for its support - and all the donations, saying, “It’s all about the ‘kitties’ and the children had a ton of fun ... to adopt a kitty, come to A Cause 4 Paws ... they’ve all been spayed and neutered.”

Details: Sharon Fitzgerald, (559) 642-6611, Vickie Deane, (559) 760-7017.