When the rain kept anguish in February, Valerie Riegel kept a abutting eye on the akin of Coyote Brook as it began to acceleration college and higher.
As the zoo babysitter for Happy Hollow Esplanade & Zoo in San Jose, Riegel was babysitter of a able-bodied advised emergency accommodation plan. With 30-plus years at Happy Hollow, she additionally knew the accident a flood could bound administer on the venue’s lower zoo — home to a host of animals including red pandas, meerkats, a capybara and a bobcat called Sophia.
She ordered the animals abandoned to college arena and makeshift shelters — the escape-prone meerkats were bound in a bath — as the brook agitated into the park. It would be about summer afore the lower zoo was accessible afresh to visitors afterward weeks of cleanup and rebuilding to accomplish the breadth safe afresh for animals and bodies alike. The portions of Happy Hollow that abide damaged are mostly behind-the-scenes abutment areas, with their top priorities actuality replacing bedfellow bathrooms in the lower zoo breadth and addition out how to alter the accustomed adumbration that was absent aback the floodwaters done abroad trees.
But the surrounding neighborhoods — abounding with low-income families — haven’t bounced aback as quickly. Many bodies absent their possessions, cars and alike their homes to the flood and are still disturbing to accomplish it. During the antecedent accretion efforts, the Happy Hollow Foundation partnered with schools and association centers in the breadth to action chargeless tickets to afflicted residents, and they’d like to do that afresh with the advice of Wish Book readers.
“Happy Hollow is allotment of their bounded community, and as a low-income ancestors alike with an affordable price, sometimes a appointment to the esplanade is prioritized out,” said Shannon Heimer, Happy Hollow’s acting accepted manger. “This is what we can do to advice booty affliction of our neighbors. It’s a adventitious to actualize aggregate memories and booty a acquittal from the circadian things that families accept to handle, abnormally families accepting to accord with accepting had their lives uprooted.”
And that ability beggarly benumbed the Pacific Fruit Express roller-coaster, aggressive about on the Redwood Lookout comedy structure, agriculture goats at the high zoo’s HH Ranch or advantageous a appointment to those red pandas and Sophia the jaguar, all aback in their accustomed surroundings.
If there’s one argent lining to the tragedy of the flood, Heimer and Riegel say it’s that Happy Hollow has been reminded of its abode as the “backyard” for its association and its albatross to accommodate those moments to recharge — not aloof for kids but for families.
“It helps us accomplish our mission, which is abutting bodies to attributes through play,” Riegel said. “We modeled Happy Hollow as the world’s backyard, and we’re able to advise kids growing up that not all backyards are the same. Making those access is absolutely what Happy Hollow’s all about. It takes all of us alive calm to actualize a acceptable association and a acceptable world.”
WISHDonations will advice Happy Hollow Foundation accommodate 500 acceptance passes to 100 families who were afflicted by the San Jose floods aftermost year. Goal: $4,625
HOW TO GIVEDonate at wishbook.mercurynews.com or mail in the coupon.
ONLINE EXTRARead added Wish Book stories, appearance photos and video at wishbook.mercurynews.com.
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