SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - There’s an unassuming lemonade stand on Seawall Road in Southwest Harbor that’s doing more than selling refreshment to its customers.
Run by Harper Robinson and Elias Coombs, they’re helping provide nourishment to a large homeless population in Southwest Harbor that almost no one ever sees.
“The kids just wanted to help out with the animals somehow, and we decided to do it locally,” said Daisy Harper, Elias’s stepmom. “There was a lot of cats so we wanted to try to find them homes.
“We just wanted to, just to help out the community and stuff,” Elias said.
One business in Southwest harbor has trapped more than 45 feral cats in the last two years. It wants to remain anonymous out of fear that others might think it’s the place to go to drop off a pet.
According to Kaitlyn Mullen, Executive Director of the SPCA in Hancock County, it’s a problem that’s gotten much worse since the COVID-19 pandemic struck a few months ago.
“We’ve had record numbers of animal surrenders, and the increases that we’re seeing are almost unprecedented and are due almost entirely to economic issues.”
So to ease that burden, Harper and Elias also sell muffins and ice tea, and will even enthusiastically play you a tune on the ukulele if it will get an extra dollar.
They say they raise between $40 and $50 dollars on the weekends to buy cat food for Southwest Harbor’s feral cats, but there are other avenues pet owners can take than simply discarding animals in the hopes there’s a lemonade stand somewhere helping to feed them.
“Please, first and foremost give the SPCA a call,” Mullens said. “This is exactly what we’re here for. If there is a waiting list to get into the shelter, you might be able to make it through the next 7 to 10 days, but also the shelter can help provide you with the food to do that.”