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ASTRO Fundraiser Sets Sights On New Heights
ASTRO Foundation will host its annual St. Cattys Day fundraiser on Saturday, March 17. The event will be staged at the Oakdale Golf and Country Club, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds from the event benefit the 501c3 non-profit rescuing animals in the Oakdale and Riverbank Areas. Photo Courtesy Marian Miller Photography & Design

Saint Patrick’s Day has taken on a new spin for the Oakdale/Riverbank area thanks in part to the ASTRO Foundation.

The Animal Shelter to Riverbank and Oakdale (ASTRO), a 501c3 not for profit, will host its Annual ‘St. Catty’s Day’ fundraiser on Saturday, March 17 at the Oakdale Golf and Country Club. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with a buffet dinner served shortly after. The evening will include live as well as silent auction items, raffle opportunities, games and live music. Tickets are $60 per person and are available at ASTRO Thrift and Gift Shop in downtown Oakdale.

According to ASTRO President Jaydeen Vicente the event annual event has grown since its humble beginnings in a barn. Last year, the fundraiser earned over $26,000 for the non-profit. Proceeds from this year’s event will aid with covering operating expenses as well as go toward building a new shelter for the area rescue.

“We are a rescue, but we don’t have a facility,” Vicente stated. “So we are a foster based rescue. Once we have a facility we can save a lot more dogs.”

The 501c3 recently signed a contract with Davis-based Indigo Architects to draft plans for the future facility. A goal of $1 million has been set for construction of a 3,000 square foot building to be housed on one to two acres in the Oakdale area. Location of the land has yet to be determined.

Last year ASTRO adopted out 450 cats and 50 dogs, she shared. Vicente noted the cat number was higher due in part to need as well as shortage of dog foster homes. Currently the rescue works with Oakdale Animal Shelter taking adoptable pets which may no longer be housed by the city. Those animals are then cared for by foster families and taken to Petco in Riverbank for adoption events.

“There are a lot of rescues taking dogs so there was a greater need here for cats,” Vicente shared. “So we became known as a cat rescue, but that’s not the case. We need more people to foster dogs.”

With pet adoption now averaging a healthy 500 pets per year, the need for a permanent facility is definitely present. Vicente shared land location as well as cost will play important factors in developing the shelter.

While the cost of building the new shelter will quickly come to the forefront of the ASTRO board, support through the fundraising event is just as critical to aiding with the every day costs of rescue care.

“Rescuing homeless pets is very expensive,” she said. “There’s just a lot of expense.”

Included in this expense is vaccinations, spay/neuter, as well as microchip. Additional expense may be incurred if the pet suffers any correctable complications. Costs are kept manageable thanks in part to partnerships with Oakdale Veterinary Group, Sylvan Veterinary Hospital and Village Oak Hospital.

“It’s very rewarding,” Vicente said of her committed volunteer efforts to saving animals, noting the board members as well as 25 volunteers as intricate parts of the Foundation’s success. “If we don’t do it, who’s going to do it?”

The March 17 event, however, is a time for just enjoying a little celebration.

“It’s just a fun, fun time,” she said of the annual St. Catty’s Day festivities. “It just really shows the community has a place in their hearts for animals.”

As testament to that, donations for live auction items such as vacation homes, private dinner events, vacation getaways and sports tickets are among the things donated for the Saturday event.

“What I enjoy about being President is having an amazing, incredibly hard-working, dedicated Board of Directors and group of volunteers to work with,” Vicente summarized. “It makes the job easier.”

For additional information on the event, ASTRO Foundation or the future facility call 604-2649 or visit