So far Pet Helpers has helped collect 49,034 pounds of food.
Throw a Dog (or Cat) a Bone
Pet Helpers’ pet food bank approaches 50,000 pounds in 2012 donations
By Charlie Morrison
One of the services the Folly Road-based Pet Helpers provides but gets little fanfare is its food bank. As one of the organization’s ‘safety net’ initiatives, the food bank is designed to allow pets to stay in their homes and out of the shelter systems. The program providing the mechanism for pet owners who want to help other pet owners in need through donating dog or cat food to the organization, which later doles out the food based on need. As staffers for the organization were going over their records recently a milestone number jumped out at them, 50,000. As of August 7, the organization had donated 49,034 lbs. of dog and cat food to owners in need in 2012 alone. Nearly 600 pet have been fed this year alone through the program.
“We see a lot of animals in the community that maybe, otherwise wouldn’t be able to stay in their homes. So this is an effort to keep them in their homes so that they do not have to enter the shelter system,” says Pet Helpers’ Lauren Lipsey, manager of public relations and outreach. “What’s unfortunate is there is an even greater need out there that we aren’t able to meet, and we can only give out how much food we have on hand at the food bank.
“We have people who come back to us month after month after month, but our belief is that these people provide loving homes so we allow them to continue receiving our aid. We want everyone to be as good a pet owner as they can be, if that means that we assist them in this way than so be it,” says Lipsey.
The food bank program is similar to the organization’s low cost spay/neuter clinics and vaccine clinics, in that they represent proactive actions undertaken by Pet Helpers to address the needs of the pet owning community in taking care of their pets themselves, to keep pets in homes they deem to be safe, loving homes for the animals. Recipients of donated food are interviewed monthly, with allocations of food distributed as per the owners’ need. “We can only do that with increased donations and continued donations from people,” says Lipsey. “Cat food is always a need.”
Science Diet brand dog food, canned Pedigree brand dog food and canned Friskies brand cat food donations will be used for the animals Pet Helpers is currently caring for in their Folly Road facility. Pet Helpers feeds animals housed at their facility those brands and the organization wants to maintain consistent diets for facility residents. All other dry brands of cat and dog food are accepted, to be later donated as part of the pet food bank program, says Lipsey.
For more information on Pet Helpers or the organization’s pet food bank program, see their website at http://www.pethelpers.org, give them a call at 795-1110 or stop by their headquarters at 1447 Folly Road on James Island.