Sundance Vacations Employee Spotlight – How Kate Helps BARCS

Sundance Vacations Washington DC Sales Manager Kate Berger has always been an animal lover, just ask her three spoiled cats and mixed terrier. But it wasn’t until her daughter Rachel began fostering kittens six years ago that she began helping Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, otherwise known as BARCS.


Sundance Vacations employee Kate Berger and her daughter Rachel have been fostering and providing supplies for animals in need at BARCS for over six years.

Kate’s daughter Rachel decided to begin fostering for BARCS her freshman year of college, but nursing sick kittens back to health was a challenge when living with a roommate who was allergic to cat dander.

It was then that mom’s house became a frequent stop for the furry runts.

“Much to my surprise, she started bringing the kittens to my house,” Kate tells Sundance Vacations. “Of course I didn’t mind but it was really Rachel who got me to start helping.”

Rachel’s passion inspired Kate to help in whatever way she could. Although Kate had her hands and house full with her own four animals and could not foster, she knew she could make donations and get others involved in her new-found cause.

After Kate shared her daughter’s stories with Sundance Vacations co-founders John and Tina Dowd, the company sought out to help.

For many years, Sundance Vacations has made an annual monetary donation to the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter to use towards supplies, food and other needs to aid struggling animals around the DC area.

Kate even organized a community collection and began gathering supplies with her neighbors, which she delivers to the shelter each month.

“It’s about an hour drive for me (to drop off the supplies each month), which I don’t mind, I’m just saying that it’s not always about the money and the love, it’s really a commitment.”

And that commitment is what drove Kate to seek additional help this year through Sundance Vacations.

Following the BARCS Facebook page keeps Kate up to date on the latest news from the shelter and is where she constantly sees stories of animals in need.

Stories like that of the one-year-old cat Misy, who came into BARCS with severely untreated glaucoma in her right eye. The eye was causing Misy extreme pain and could not be saved, so BARCS staff veterinarians removed it and helped her through her eight-month recovery. Misy was adopted early in March of this year and is now happily living with her new forever family.


Chelsea was scared and underweight when she came to BARCS, but now she spends her days happily running outside with her new family. Look at the smile!

Kate sees amazing transformations like these daily in her newsfeed. She sees the story of Chelsea in the year since she was adopted. From a frightened, malnourished pup to a lively, happy dog, this pooch was given a second chance through BARCS.

Tales like these two remind Kate that she helps to make miracles like these happen every day.

“These stories made me think,” Kate said.  “‘Boy, they need a little more a donations here’ and that’s why I asked if Sundance Vacations would donate more towards the BARCS Franky Fund this year.”

The Franky Fund is used towards caring for sick or injured homeless animals to cover the cost of surgeries, treatments and other needs to help them recover.

Kate saw how the fund helped save the life of the Misy the cat and others and felt as though an increased donation would really go a long way for BARCS this year.

After learning of Kate’s efforts and the need of so many animals around the DC office, Sundance Vacations doubled their usual donation for 2016 to support the BARCS Franky Fund.

This 501©3 charity knows they could not save all these lives without the help of their donators, volunteers and foster caretakers, which is why Joann Goldberger, the Director of Development at BARCS, was thrilled to learn about our additional support.

“We’re grateful for the support of Sundance Vacations, Kate and her daughter!” said Goldberger. “Every donation of time or resources makes a difference to an animal who needs it most.”

Kate’s daughter Rachel has fostered animals throughout her entire bachelor’s education, and she still fosters today through her master’s program. In fact, she has taken on 12 cats from BARCS and found them all happy homes.

Kate herself continues to spread her passion to others for help. One Sundance Vacations employee from her DC office even adopted a kitten of her own from BARCS. In fact, Sundance Vacations employees help animal shelters all across the United States at our many offices, including Blue Chip Animal Farm in Pennsylvania and more.

“Charity has always been a big thing at Sundance Vacations,” Kate said. “I’ve been with the company a little over eight years now and they’ve always been such a loving, giving company and I never want to lose sight of that.”

Sundance Vacations is proud to help Kate’s cause and support the efforts of many other employees across our offices.

About Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter

Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, otherwise known as BARCS, is located in Baltimore, Maryland and rescues more than 11,000 unwanted or abused animals a year.

After a name change in 2005, the shelter became a non-profit organization with the new-found goal of finding happy families for kittens, puppies and other exotic animals in the Baltimore area.

The shelter hopes to one day become a model open admission shelter, which does not turn away animals without a home, by expanding and building a bigger rescue center.

To learn more about BARCS, visit our Sundance Vacations Charities page.

How You Can Help the Baltimore Animal Shelter

BARCS offers a volunteer program for those who wish to help around the shelter. See how you could become a volunteer!

The rescue also offers fostering programs and off-site adoptions to expand the lives they touch to outside their four walls. Fill out an adoption application to see if you qualify and be sure to check out their off-site adoption locations.

Just like Kate does, BARCS is always seeking donations of supplies to care for homeless animals. Please bring any supplies to 301 Stockholm Street, Baltimore, MD 21230.

In addition to donating supplies, the shelter is actively seeking monetary donations for their Franky Fund to provide the necessary surgeries and treatments for homeless animals.

For more updates on how you can help, follow the BARCS Facebook page.

View all charities Sundance Vacations Washing DC worked with here: Washing DC News.