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How a grant from TEGNA is helping the Quad City's furry friends

The Quad City Animal Welfare Center received a $3,000 grant from News 8's parent company, TEGNA, and is using the money to buy food and cat litter.

MILAN, Ill. — WQAD News 8 and its parent company, TEGNA, annually award grants to local nonprofits to recognize the work they're doing in the community. This year, $3,000 was given to the Quad City Animal Welfare Center. 

The QCAWC was founded in 1977 and serves as a shelter for animals looking for their forever homes. Currently, there are over 100 cats in the shelter, along with some dogs, rabbits and even a guinea pig. 

"We're committed to these animals, so once they do get admitted to our shelter, they're going to stay here and we're going to take care of them. If they have medical issues we have are vet, we will treat them," Executive Director Patti McRae said. "We vaccinate, we microchip, so everybody's healthy and ready to go and just waiting for their forever family."

The QCAWC operates an adoption center and wellness clinic. It's hosted vaccine clinics and a pet food pantry. 

"We want to be the place that helps, and so if you're having a problem, struggling with pet food, you need some pet food, we have it, we want to help you," McRae said. "Or, they just need to talk about how to take care of their pet, if they're having issues. Sometimes just talking to someone about training issues, or if they're having housebreak issues, we have some really great handouts and we have some great staff."

It's been a busy year for adoptions at the shelter, in fact, one of the busiest years ever, McRae said. It's on track to have more than 1,400 animals adopted this year, and at the wellness clinic, it's spayed or neutered close to 4,000 animals.

"When one comes in, and they're sick, or they're injured, and we're able to rehabilitate, and then find them a loving home, that is absolutely what makes my job worth it," she said. "They're just great companions. It's unconditional love. They love you no matter what kind of a mood you're in."

However, as a nonprofit the QCAWC relies partially on donations and fundraisers, McRae said it hasn't been able to have any fundraisers lately due to the pandemic. 

"We've not done our mutt strut, we've not done any of our trivia's, so yes, it has been challenging. We haven't had any big open houses or any type of gatherings for any of our donors," she said. "It has affected us financially, so having this additional money to help us purchase the needed items is helping us immensely."

The QCAWC is using the $3,000 TEGNA Foundation grant to buy food and cat litter, things that are always greatly needed. 

"That is something that you know, having 100 cats, you're changing a lot of litter boxes. So we needed cat food, dog food, puppy food, kitten food," McRae said. "It'll get us quite a bit of food. That should last us probably, maybe about four to five months. So that's awesome."

Two other area organizations receiving a TEGNA grant this year are Friends of Hauberg Civic Center Foundation and NEST Café.