Holiday gatherings are upon us.    Families are getting ready for Thanksgiving.    Communities are gearing up for community thanksgiving dinners.   The shopping carts are overflowing.   We look forward to all the delicious food.   

Well, how about the pets?  Add them to the list of needy.   

Humans are not the only ones suffering in this poor economy.   There is an  increase in the number of  pets being surrendered by owners who can’t afford to feed them. With the steady stream of layoffs and foreclosures, more food banks are addressing this situation.  

Consider this:

Every venture starts small, so any size pet food will be helping needy pets. Find out where the food shelf is in your community.   Then ask if they do or will accept and distribute pet food to their participants.   

Start by purchasing an extra bag or two of good quality dog or cat food or kitty litter when you go to the store.   Avoid pet treats.   Good quality pet food is far healthier and a wiser choice.  This doesn't have to be a monumental investment.    If possible, just be consistent.    Keep pet food on your shopping list.    Deliver your donation to the local food shelf regularly.    Don’t have any pets?    That’s OK.   Pet ownership is not required to be a pet-food food shelf supporter.    

If you want to take additional action, start a pet food pick up.    Network with other pet owners in your neighborhood to see if they are willing to help with this project.    Don’t know who they are?    Well, if you go to the dog parks, talk to others or post sign up sheets.    Then follow through.    It’s amazing what can be accomplished.   

Ask for donations from stores.   Stores frequently have torn bags and sacks that are not suitable for sale.   Ask stores to place pet food bins near their check out registers.    Schedule regular pick ups then deliver to the food shelf.  Don’t leave stores with an over flowing container and no one to collect it.   This can have a negative impact on a stores willingness to participate.     

Hold food drives at schools throughout the entire month of December - or any month for that matter.     Winter weather requires more calories to support life.    December is a good time to start.   Families struggling to feed their pets is a problem most people don’t think about when they make a donation to the food shelf.  4-H, Boy and Girl Scout groups, etc. might also be interested in holding pet food collection events.    

Think big! Pet lovers are everywhere, and no one likes the idea of pet owners giving up their beloved pets as a last resort when they’re financially strapped.   


Be responsible.   Have your pets spayed or neutered.

"Shirley Taggart is an animal advocate.    She is committed to helping animals and the people who care about them."      

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