Videos of the animals chomping on the watermelons have melted the hearts of viewers on the internet.
While transporting some watermelons to the Louisiana Watermelon Festival in Farmerville in Louisiana, Yak’s Produce met with an accident that left watermelons and cantaloupes wrecked on the road. Fortunately, no one was injured but there was a giant mess and a lot of produce that could now no longer be used. Instead of ditching the fruit, the company collaborated with licensed wildlife rehab specialist Leslie Greene to find a new home for the ruined load.
Greene told PEOPLE, “I asked the owner of Yak's Produce, ‘Well, hey, if y'all are not going to use all this watermelon that's already open, can I have it for the wildlife rehab?’” The owner responded, "If it can go to another cause instead of being discarded, that would be wonderful." All the squashed watermelons and cantaloupes were then delivered to Greene’s four-acre land where she takes care of 42 animals including beavers, raccoons, skunks, opossums, goats and more. She tossed all the watermelons to them and saw their exciting behavior.
Watermelons Squashed in Accident Donated to a Wildlife Rescue to Delight and Hydrate Animals https://t.co/n383tK37pU— People (@people) August 22, 2022
“They all just went to town on it," says Greene, 46, who shared the inspiring story on her TikTok. Getting the first bite, the beavers seemed to "absolutely love it" and enjoyed the hydrating feast in this heat. “I chucked it over the enclosure, and they started coming out,” Greene says, “and they love watermelon.” The rescue is away from the main town and once any nonpredatory animals are fully healed, she releases them into the wildlife refuge. Any rehabbed predatory animals, she released on her family-owned land in Homer, spanning a hundred acres where they currently release rehabbed predatory animals.
"I love the animals. I love helping them," says Greene, a marketer for a nursing home. "I've always been a nurturer. If something or someone needs me, it makes me feel good." What made her feel good, also made the internet feel good. After she posted this video of the watermelon galore, her followers praised Yak's Produce for helping animals in such an inspiring way. Yak’s also reverted saying that they would be more than happy to help out with getting Greene any produce when there is something they could no longer sell or use.
One user wrote, "Donating the truckload of watermelon to wildlife instead of tossing it out melted my heart! Clearly a company with good morals!!! If I was closer I’d stop by today. Thank you for helping the wildlife critters stay hydrated with a yummy treat during this hot summer." One user expressed their gratitude for businesses like Yak and wrote, "Such an act of kindness to donate your watermelons to the wildlife rehabilitation center. This is the kind of business we should all support! Thank you!"
Some followers even went out of their way to share the news of Yak's produce's generosity and kindness with locals. One of the users wrote, "OMG! Just saw the article about Yaks donating all of the smashed melons from the accident in July to an animal rehab near by; and then doubling down to donate other imperfect produce to their cause! Glad no one was hurt in the accident and MAJOR KUDOS for turning a loss into a WIN for a charity!! I live in VA, and can't get there to praise as a regular customer, but I did forward the article to some of my Louisiana friends. Hopefully they'll reward your generosity on my behalf. What a GREAT story and what a GREAT gesture!!"
“So it turned out to be a big win for us and the wildlife,” Greene says. “I appreciate Yak's and appreciate all the animal lovers who did reach out to Yak's and tell them thank you.” In his blistering heatwave, there are only so many ways animals can be cooled down, whether it be shaving them or keeping a cold water bath close at all times. It is great that Yak’s produce was able to help them out this way.