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Family Fun for a Zoo-Rific Cause

Thrivent members team up to help zoo get ready for the season

Even the animals got in on the action when volunteers from Thrivent Financial and other fraternal benefit societiesfraternal benefit societies met at the Tri-State Zoological Park in Cumberland, Maryland, to clean, paint and prep the zoo for the summer season.

Thrivent member Steve Heare got some assistance from a feathered zoo resident as he worked to put a roof on the new education center. "I had a peacock jump up on the roof to help me for a while," he says.

In fact, children and adult volunteers alike worked alongside birds, bunnies, cats and more, which all have run of the zoo grounds.

Thrivent members from the Allegany County Maryland, Garrett County and Washington County Maryland chapters teamed up with about 70 volunteers from other fraternal benefit societies across the region for the project.

"It was amazing because everybody just pitched in – scooped manure, planted trees, painted, fixed up the mini golf course – anything that needed to be done," says Carol Hughes, a member of both the Allegany County Maryland Chapter and Modern Woodmen of America, two of the organizations that participated in the event.

In fact, it was Hughes who alerted Thrivent to the need for volunteers and funding for the Join Hands Day event, a national volunteer day that brings youth and adults together to make a difference in communities.

Wandering animals are just one of the zoo's benefits for the community. In addition to being a great place to volunteer (it has no full-time staff), it serves as a rescue center for unwanted, abused and donated animals – from lions and tigers to exotic birds and reptiles (who, for the record, are not allowed to roam among guests).

At the end of the day, the zoo was ready to open its doors for the season, and well on its way to a new education building. As an added bonus, dozens of members got to experience a day of camaraderie and fellowship for a great cause.

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CloseFraternal Benefit Society

Fraternal Benefit Society A not-for-profit organization that provides insurance to its members and operates for social, intellectual, educational, charitable, benevolent, moral, fraternal, patriotic or religious purposes for the benefit of its members and the public. These organizations operate under the lodge system, which means a member of the society is a member of a local chapter of the society. Fraternal benefit societies have representative governments, and members share a religious, ethnic, vocational or other common bond.