People Step Up to Help Swans in SF's Palace of Fine Arts

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The recent trend of food hoarding isn’t just affecting people, but animals too. The famed swans at San Francisco’s iconic Palace of Fine Arts are now running low on a staple of their diet -- corn.

Caretakers say corn is crucial for the swans this time of year, as it’s the way they fatten up before nesting season and just a day after asking for donations, people have responded.

“I felt a little panicked at first,” said volunteer Gayle Hagerty.

Hagerty, the palace’s swan caretaker of 25 years, posted a message online noting that “because of food hoarding,” she couldn’t buy necessary corn in bulk.

“Oh my gosh, we heard on Nextdoor that our swans were not able to get the food that they needed because of the shortage,” said Sharon Hejek from Marina.

People responded right away by rolling dozens of cans of corn under the gardener’s fence. 

“The swans needed food, corn in particular, so we decided to bring our last two cans over,” said San Francisco resident May Gin. 

Hagerty was touched as she’s been in quarantine for the past 10 days after being potentially exposed to COVID-19.

“I was so happy. I was like pumping my fists when I saw those cans being put underneath the fence for the swans,” she said. “It’s just really heartwarming.”

A lot more donations were rolling in and under the fence Thursday. The gardener collected them all and will feed the swans while the caretaker remains in quarantine.

Anyone who wants to donate is welcome, but Hagerty stressed to everyone that they should not feed the swans or any of the animals directly.

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