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Castro Valley Girl Launches Facebook Fundraiser to Save Oakland Zoo

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- A 6-year-old Castro Valley girl is trying to save the Oakland Zoo, one bracelet at a time.

When young Andy Soulard heard the zoo might have to shut down permanently she took action.

She donated the $5 she got from the Tooth Fairy then launched a Facebook fundraising page that has raised about $75,000 so far.

Andy Soulard
Andy Soulard. (Family photo via Facebook)

Andy Soulard has been visiting the Oakland zoo since she was just a baby. Her favorite animals are tigers, warthogs and guinea hogs. She also loves riding the aerial gondola. For Andy, as well as everyone else, COVID-19 ended her zoo outings in March. If the pandemic-forced shutdown lasts too much longer, the zoo may close for good.

To help the zoo with day-to-day expenses, she launched her fundraiser with the modest goal of raising $200 then it went viral. As of Thursday night, donations had topped $83,000 from more than 1,600 donors.

"She helped to feed all of the animals at the zoo for a month now," Andy's mom, Kelly Soulard, said.

For every donation of $25 or more Andy makes a bracelet.

Thanks to friends and neighbors, Andy is fulfilling more than 200 orders. As she explained to KPIX, "We're buying smaller beads so they can fit in an envelope so we can mail them out."

All of this so she can one day visit the zoo again with her younger brother.

"As parents we just want to make the world a better place and it's inspiring to see Andy, at six years old, trying to take matters in her own hands," her mother said.

The Soulards say they'll probably keep the fundraiser going until the end of the month but, if and when school returns in August, Andy's bracelet-making days may have to end.

WEBLINK: Girl's Facebook Fundraiser for Oakland Zoo Raises Thousands

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