"First of all, it was a very personal connection. Because, as we were raising our children, we always took them to the Barnyard Zoo," said Betty Peralta, Montebello resident and president of the volunteer organization Montebello Soroptimist.
Many of the zoo's visitors are often students from nearby schools.
"We would love to keep doing that for the children. Just to see the kids' faces and seeing how much fun they have here," said Melanie Wolovich, the zoo owner's daughter.
But the zoo was closed to the public for more than six months last year because of the pandemic and is now closed again due to health guidelines. But someone still has to take care of the animals.
"We cannot close the doors and go home. We need to be here every day, to feed the animals," said Rolando Wolovich, owner of the zoo.
Since the zoo has been closed, it's been unable to make money. That's why Wolovich is turning to the public and asking for help with a GoFundMe.
Members of the volunteer organization Montebello Soroptimist are also pledging to help.
"We're trying to figure out more ways to fundraise with them," said Peralta.
Wolovich said going out of business is not an option for him and he'll continue to do what he can for the zoo.
"For me, it's all of my life. I spent all my young age here, 28 years," said Wolovich. "I was sitting there every weekend while my friends had gone fishing. I was here sleeping the night with the animals while they're sick. And now I'm 66 and I will keep him fighting. COVID isn't going to stop me."
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