by Sam Mazzotta
Dear Paw’s Corner: So many people are out of work right now, and there is little to no assistance available to them just to pay rent, much less buy food for themselves. I am wondering, how will people be able to feed their pets in this desperate situation?
—Jamie G., Atlanta
Dear Jamie: One of the bright spots in this pandemic is the way that individuals have responded to help each other and fill the needs of tens of thousands—maybe millions—of pets.
Shelters in many parts of the country have opened or expanded food pantries for pets to help owners keep their dogs and cats healthy and fed. Napa County, California, for example, transformed two empty shipping containers into a community pet pantry offering free supplies this summer. (Search for Napa County’s new pet pantry to learn more.)
In Tuscon, Cody’s Friends, a charity started in 2010 by a 10-year-old boy, has seen a huge surge of demand for pet food and is distributing to area shelters and clinics as fast as possible (https:// codysfriends.org). In North Carolina, the Davidson County Animal Alliance extended its holiday pet food collection drive because there was so much need.
If you are struggling to pay for pet food for any reason, contact your local shelter first and ask if there is a pet food program available. You may not be able to pick up food directly from a shelter; it may be distributed at a different location.
Contact local food banks, churches, and municipal offices. Of course, search online or on Facebook for these services as well.
Also, if you’ve been waiting to do-nate food, pet supplies, or cash to a local shelter or charity, now is your moment to shine.
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