Institute for Marine Mammal Studies receives donation

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of people came to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport for a Christmas open house and a little something more on Saturday. They all watched as the institute received a generous donation from Walgreens.

The Institute for Marine Mammal studies saved the lives of hundreds of animals during and after the oil spill. Thanks to those who are passionate about local sea life, recovery will continue.

Dr. Moby Solangi said, "Walgreens was very kind and generous to give us $10,000 for efforts during the BP oil spill to recover, rescue marine mammals and turtles."

Dr. Moby Solangi with the IMMS said it's very expensive to rescue and recover animals, but it's a job that must be done.

"For human beings you've got Red Cross, FEMA, and for animals, it's us," said Solangi.

The $10,000 check presented by Walgreens will play a huge role in that, but the money goes toward more than just rehabilitating injured animals.

"And also provide educational opportunities for the young kids as you can see today," said Solangi.

An example of where some of that money will go was brought to life on this day. A Christmas open house was held for hundreds of kids who got hands on lessons about many animals. The donors said the oil spill, has really been an eye opener about the need to help these valuable creatures.

Troy Menard said, "By seeing it nationally, it opened our company's eyes, as well, and we just felt almost an obligation to do what's right and help this community."

Walgreens District Manager Troy Menard said he hopes the money will help the institution grow and save even more lives.

"We certainly want to utilize our stores and help them in anyway we can just to increase the awareness of what they are for the Gulf Coast," said Menard.

Solangi said, "I think that it shows that Walgreens cares for the community it's in, and it also wants to protect the environment that makes this community so unique."

Walgreens representatives said they hope the partnership will continue.

Menard said the company became interested in partnering with IMMS after a South Mississippi store manager brought it to their attention how many animals were suffering after the oil spill.

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