The Alaska Zoo’s annual Feast with the Beasts event is the largest fundraiser for the non-profit organization. More than 230 people attended the gala-style event in June that featured a live auction, silent auction and banquet. The money will go toward habitat upgrades for the animals and education programs for zoo visitors.

The zoo charges admission fees and has a coffee shop and a gift shop, but Development Director Jill Myer says those funds only cover about 80% of what’s needed to run the organization each year, "That’s just to cover the basics.” The rest has to come through fundraisers like Feast with the Beasts, grants, and donations from the community.

The zoo is always accepting food donations. There’s a large freezer in the zoo parking lot where people can drop fish and meat. Rules about what food can be donated are on the zoo’s website.

Up to 20 percent of the food the animals eat comes from community donations.

While funding is often tight for the non-profit, Myer says the animals are always the first priority.

“They’re always going to get their food and their medicine, even if everyone doesn’t get paid.”

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