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Fostering a promising future for rescued animals

Megan Maher, Director of Network Administration for Wellmark, has been fostering for animal rescues for nearly 10 years. She grew up loving pets and has had as many as 21 rescues in her home at the same time.

"We've been known to refer to ourselves as the West Des Moines Zoo," said Megan. "My family has fostered dogs, cats, ferrets and even squirrels!"

Many of the animals that she and her family take care of come from hoarding situations. Because of their environment they often lack medical care, nutrition and clean housing. After working with several nonprofits, Megan’s sister told her about Rescue Rehab Rehome External Link in Urbandale, Iowa. The Des Moines-area rescue organization helps join rescued or abandoned dogs and kittens to loving “fur-ever” homes.

“Foster homes provide a safe environment with lots of love until a forever home is found,” said Tracy Struble, Rescue Rehome Rehab’s feline coordinator. “These animals are forever grateful for volunteers like Megan who open their homes and hearts to them. With both canines and felines, foster homes are an integral part of the Rescue, which provides all the needed supplies and vetting at no cost to the volunteer.”

Helping hands during times of hardship

Last year during the derecho and flooding in Des Moines, animal shelters were overrun with strays and needed extra volunteer help. Megan saw that as an immediate opportunity to open her home, and heart to the cause. She and her family fostered kittens and a scurry of baby squirrels who had lost their parents, and homes during the spring storms.

“The BluesCare Giving program has been a phenomenal way to provide additional support for the Rescue Rehab Rehome mission,” said Megan. “It’s such a great feeling to know that my time, effort and contributions are recognized and appreciated by The Wellmark Foundation!”

Reduce stress, increase gratitude

The Wellmark Foundation’s BluesCare Giving program provides necessary funding to eligible nonprofit organizations. Employees may earn the opportunity to designate dollars by volunteering or through a dollar-for-dollar matching gift donation.

Megan said fostering has been such a rewarding experience for her family. It helps them reduce stress, increase gratitude, and get the satisfaction of helping an animal transition to their forever home.

"All of the animals we take care of need extra love and support to eventually become adoptable," she said. "Fostering is a family affair; we all nurture them and pitch in."

In just four hours, team members can volunteer and earn $100 to direct to a qualified nonprofit organization of their choice.

Megan spends an average of one hour a day working with animals, which equals several Personal Volunteer Time contributions from The Wellmark Foundation and assists the nonprofit with medical care, animal retrieval, operation costs, supplies and more.

To find out if your nonprofit organization is eligible for the BluesCare Giving program, contact BluesCareGiving@wellmark.com Send Email.