While the face of Cat Town is our Adoption Center in Downtown Oakland, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make the magic happen. One of those things is providing our cats with their most basic needs: food and a litter box. That’s where our Volunteer of the Month, Clif Bar, comes in. Their generous employees pick up these supplies from Pet Food Express every month and deliver them right to our doorstep.
The employees at Clif Bar are not only an example of a team willing to get in the trenches, but of true generosity, helping where help is needed. It is a reminder that there are so many ways in which individuals or businesses help Cat Town — and we are thankful for it! In this interview, we talked with a few of the animal lovers on the Clif Bar delivery team who help us every month: Monica, Mary, Tara, Cassie, and Linden.
Cat Town: How did Clif Bar first get involved with Cat Town, and how often do you volunteer with us?
Monica: I had started volunteering with Cat Town when the Adoption Center opened in the Fall of 2014. At the time, I worked with other Cat Town volunteers and staff to build a volunteer onboarding process and train new volunteers in various roles. After two years, I had to change my level of volunteer commitment and began working at Clif Bar in 2016. Because Clif encourages employees to volunteer at least 20 hours a year — even during company time — I saw an opportunity to coordinate volunteers at Clif to help Cat Town.
Prior to Clif Bar’s involvement, Cat Town’s volunteer manager scrambled monthly to find individual volunteers to help transport supplies from Pet Food Express. Clif Bar has a pickup truck that employees can borrow for volunteer events, which makes it easy to transport the supplies. So every month, a group of Clif Bar volunteers will drive the pickup truck to the Pet Food Express warehouse, load it up with litter and food, and take it to Cat Town. Volunteers also get to spend some time petting and playing with the cats at the Adoption Center.
CT: Does the company have any connection to animal welfare?
Cassie: Clif Bar does not necessarily have a connection to animal welfare, but we are a dog friendly company — dogs come to work every day. Also, CLIF CORPS program supports people in volunteering with any cause or issue they are passionate about on company time. Clif Bar employees volunteer for many, many other nonprofits that focus on many different needs including animal welfare, food/farming, environmental causes, and more.
CT: Do you have a favorite delivery story?
Tara: Any day we get to hang out with the angel babies at Cat Town is a wonderful day! The kittens at Cat Town are a favorite for many, but I definitely have an extra sweet spot in my heart for the senior kitties of Cat Town. A couple weeks back when we came to visit, 14 year-old Fontine was the sweetest girl who had all the love to give and wanted all the pets and scritches. She melted my heart and it was beyond hard to leave that day!
Linden: Kittens climbing all over me!
CT: Have you learned anything about cats that you didn't know before volunteering for Cat Town?
Mary: I learned that there is a ‘kitten season’!
Tara: I did not know that black cats have the lowest adoption rates! I assumed that black cats were some of the most popular, but I stand corrected. I also learned a bit about FeLV and the heroes that adopt these cats with potentially shorter lifespans. And while it’s no surprise that cats are resilient creatures, some of the stories that the Cat Town staff has shared reaffirm this point.
CT: Have you considered making cat food?
We do not currently have the equipment capability to make cat food, but we have tinkered around with the idea of wholesome pet treats
CT: How does volunteering tie into the team ethic and Clif Bar mission, and what other organizations do you volunteer with?
Monica: Clif Bar has Five Aspirations that shape our business and one of them is about sustaining our community. Through CLIF CORPS, our employee giving and engagement program, employees are encouraged to volunteer and to donate bars and money — Clif will match monetary donations up to $2,000 each year. Every year, we have an all-company volunteer day where the office shuts down so we can do community service for a full day. Just last month on July 17, all Clif Bar employees across the US volunteered for the National Park Service helping at many different national parks across the US. Clif Bar also founded In Good Company, where we partner with other like-minded companies to do week long volunteer projects. All this to say, Clif Bar loves giving back to the community!
Whether it’s by matching employee donations, giving much-needed supplies, or paying employees to volunteer on company time, corporations can make a big difference for nonprofits in their community. Learn more about how your company can get involved with Cat Town today!