Pet Food Pantries Make the Holidays Less Bleak
At a time of the year when there should be joy throughout the world, there is no joy for many out-of-work and/or disabled pet owners. Some are reluctantly showing up at animal shelters across the nation to surrender their beloved cats and dogs because they cannot afford to feed them.
But not all is grim. Hundreds of shelters have opened dog and cat food pantries designed to help the financially disabled and their pets weather the economic downturn together.
Donations include bags of cat and dog food destined to help keep the less fortunate pets from going hungry during this holiday season. People who obviously love and want to keep their pets are able to bring them to shelters, where they will at least have food.
The financial emergencies that have brought them to the shelters are temporary: a job loss, foreclosure, serious injury, house fire, or some other financial setback that has left them unable to provide for their pets while they are struggling to get back on their feet.
Shelters are setting aside an area for pet food banks meant for dog and cat owners who can demonstrate financial need. Donations are solicited from more affluent animal lovers to fill up the shelves.
The goal is that when an emergency strikes an individual or a family with animals, there will be the resources to help tide over the less fortunate with appropriate pet foods.
For example, when people were bombarded by tornadoes this last spring, there was a tremendous need for emergency rations for pets owned by people who lost their homes and/or their livelihoods as a result. Many donors, some of them corporate, rose to the occasion, and money and donated pet food designated for the tornado victims poured in.
Across the nation, from Massachusetts to Texas to California , pet food pantries are finding that there is a tremendous need for the emergency rations they provide.
When Animal Care Services in Sacramento , CA opened its pet food bank, more than 500 low-income pet owners showed up for help during the first four months. The shelter relies on donations to provide the needed kibble.
Occasionally, corporations like Halo, the pet food company that counts actress and animal lover Ellen DeGeneres among its owners, help out with large donations that supplement those contributed by local animal lovers.
That’s what happened in Sacramento, where Halo, Purely for Pets, donated enough Spot’s Stew to provide 5,000 meals for animals in two shelters: the local SPCA and Animal Care Services.
Another example of organizations helping pets is the website Freekibble.com, which runs a promotion where individuals can go to answer pet-related trivia questions and, in the process, earn “kibble” that is donated to pet food pantries across that nation.
Individuals are a crucial part of the effort to keep food pantries alive and well stocked. Even those who cannot afford to help by donating food can still offer support, simply by showing up with donations in hand.