Each quarter, GreenStar selects three local not-for-profits to be the recipients of our Bring Your Own Bag, Use It for Good program donations. Our BYOB program encourages shoppers to bring their own bags by providing them with a token worth 5¢ that they can donate to one of the chosen organizations. At the end of the quarter, we make a donation to the groups based on the number of tokens given by our customers. This quarter, our recipients are the Natural Leaders Initiative, the Friends of Stewart Park, and Wild Things Animal Sanctuary.

Wild Things Sanctuary started over a decade ago as a wildlife rehabilitation center helping all native wildlife. However, after some time, it became clear that one group of animals really needed help: bats!

Bat numbers have plummeted since white-nose syndrome appeared in 2006, killing millions of these little mammals and spreading every year across North America. It attacks bats while they hibernate in caves. Meanwhile, as crevice dwelling hibernating bats battle this disease, wind turbines are wiping out foliage roosting bats as they migrate across the landscape. Many other bats come to sad ends because of human fear and misunderstanding.

Until Wild Things Sanctuary turned its sights on helping bats, New York state did not have a facility that specialized in native bat care and education, and many wildlife rehabilitators do not admit bats at all. In just a few short years, word has spread, and Wild Things has since cared for hundreds of bats from all over the state. Each patient helps build experience and increase knowledge on how to help these dynamic little animals, and every admission gives Wild Things a chance to educate and spread the word that bats need our help!

Wild Things depends on every penny the Bring Your Own Bag programs brings in — plus, using your own bag is a great way to help the environment where the wild things live. Currently, Wild Things has 94 bat patients, awaiting good weather to be released. 94 little mouths to feed translates into hundreds of dollars spent every week feeding these insectivores a special insect-based diet. A number of patients recovering from injuries and illness also require medication and often, special food. Your generosity helps keep Wild Things going, and helps these special little animals continue their nighttime sky patrols, ridding our lives of pesky insects. For more information on Wild Things Sanctuary, visit www.wildthingssanctuary.org.

Are you involved with a not-for-profit organization that might benefit from this program? Apply to be a recipient here.