For the rest of the month you can have fun at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium at a discounted price – and help out hungry Pierce County families. The Help Out for Half-Off campaign started Thursday, Dec. 16, and offers half-off daytime general admission to zoo visitors who donate a non-perishable food item.
The zoo aims to collect 5,000 pounds of food – enough to feed 17,500 people for one day – for Emergency Food Network. EFN provides food and essentials to 67 Pierce County food banks, hot meal sites and shelters serving low-income people and families.
“This is a great way to enjoy the zoo and help out our neighbors in need,” said zoo deputy director John Houck.
Each day of the zoo’s Help Out for Half-Off campaign will highlight different animals receiving fun enrichment toys or treats. You can watch tiger cubs Bima and Mali playing with new wobble toys, meerkats investigating scented boomer balls and the aardvark using his 16-inch tongue to lick yogurt from the bottom of a tube. The polar bears are sure to entertain as they wrestle floating barrels and vie for fish treats.
“We’re excited to partner with Emergency Food Network for this effort,” Houck said. “We want everyone to come out and be part of the fun. Every donation puts us that much closer to our 5,000 pound food goal.”
Helen McGovern, EFN’s executive director, said that her organization counts on food drives and donations to keep pace with the increasing demand for food in Pierce County. EFN is feeding about 140,000 people each month and food bank visits are up more than 40 percent from 2008.
“The food banks, meal sites, and shelters in our distribution network allow families to avoid difficult decisions such as giving up shelter or medicine or transportation. We’re all partners in the effort to provide relief during a very tough period for many people,” she said.
EFN is in need of specific canned goods including: beef stew, ravioli, cannelloni, tuna, chicken, beef, fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and yams.
When it comes to packaged food, EFN is seeking donations of hot cereal, mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, powdered eggs and macaroni and cheese. Personal products, such as soaps, lotion and shaving cream, as well as infant items including diapers and formula are also needed.
The zoo’s Help Out for Half-Off campaign runs through Dec. 31. The discount applies to zoo daytime general admission only and is not valid for Zoolights admission.
For more information, visit www.pdza.org or call 253-591-5337.