Comfort for Critters

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Pet Food Banks – The Need Continues!

The last time I wrote about this topic was one year ago. At that time the need was great and (needless to say) times have not gotten any better! The news is filled with video of the long lines at food banks, and the dire shape some families are in during this pandemic. If you find you are able, I would encourage everyone to donate to these relief organizations and consider adding pet food to the people food dropped off.

From my observations, and as someone that donates monthly to food banks, the need (in my lifetime) has never been greater. With new Covid-restrictions in my area, I can no longer “walk in” my donation. I just get in a line of cars and pass the bags through a window to a masked volunteer. I was thrilled to see the long line of cars, but soon realized they were picking up, not dropping off, food. I’ve never seen this demand before and it was heartbreaking.

This fall I read an article in the Chicago Tribute highlighting the surge in demand at pet food banks this year. Many of the pet-specific pantries had to abandon their reliance on volunteers and some even had to close. Shelters have been picking up some of the slack, but they too have been hard hit by the pandemic. The demand in the area grew so great that shelters had to start buying pet food to hand out, rather than relying on donations. According to one of the pet food pantry operators, “We found out that many of the people, particularly seniors, would choose to feed their pets rather than themselves.” So for me, helping feed pets is helping feed people too! It’s also caring for a person’s loving companion who is likely a tremendous emotional support.

If you’d like to help out, an easy way to get started is to Google “pet food bank near me” (Google will likely “know” your location!). If not, add the name of your city. This should result in a list of places which will accept pet food.

You can also try visiting the Anti-Cruelty Society at Check under “Resources” for a list of locations. You may also check out, and check under “Rethink Rescue”, then “Safety nets for pet owners”. I found a list, by state, of places to get free pet food (or to donate food).

As I mentioned, some animal shelters provide food to the pets of local residents who are facing a financial need. So if you have a great animal shelter near you, it might be worth checking to see if they’ll accept pet food to distribute, as needed, to families. Remember, the pets you are helping are likely helping their “people” through a very difficult time. What a blessing it is to help people, and their pets. As a final note, I do want to acknowledge that every family seems stressed emotionally and financially right now. You don’t need to donate a case of food to help. A single can will help, and make a difference!

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