Community zoo in Montebello asks for public's help during the pandemic

MONTEBELLO, Calif. -- Like many businesses, the Montebello Barnyard Zoo has struggled during the pandemic.

The zoo has been a part of the community for nearly 30 years and turned to that community for help.

"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.

The zoo was closed to the public for more than six months last year because of the pandemic and recently had to close again due to health guidelines, but someone still had 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.

While the zoo was closed, it was unable to make money. So Wolovich turned to the public and asking for help with a GoFundMe.

They were able to raise over $30,000. The zoo has since been able to reopen.