Pet Food Pantries Support Low-Income People With Pets

There are millions of people around the world who struggle with poverty and are frequently overlooked by society.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 14.8 percent – or approximately 46 million – of Americans live in poverty. With 79.7 million households with a pet in the United States, there’s a good chance that many of those pets are living with impoverished families.

These families have a hard choice to make every day. Their budget allows for very little spending, and they have to choose what’s most important to them. Do they buy food for their own family? Do they use the money for rent or a house payment? Can they live without heat or electricity for a month? These are decisions that people living above the poverty line rarely have to make.

Unfortunately, during these tough times, pets can be overlooked when people are faced with the choice of protecting their children versus protecting their pets. Other times, people give up food for themselves in order to feed their pet. These are hard, gut-wrenching decisions nobody should ever be faced to make, but it’s a heartbreaking reality to those living every day in poverty.

That choice is becoming a little easier to make, thanks to organizations around the country that provide assistance to pet families in poverty. According to a 2015 study, 95 percent of people view their pets as family. In response to those numbers, many pet food pantries have popped up all over the United States within the past two months alone.

In December, Animal Care Centers of NYC opened up a pet food pantry and within its first month, gave out 2,000 pounds of pet food to families who are struggling.

In January, the Humane Society of Putnam County created its own pantry that operates out of the organization’s Rescued Treasures thrift shop. Anyone who needs pet food, regardless of their income or situation, can access the pantry. This could also include people who are fostering animals or have taken in stray animals – giving every animal in need an opportunity to live a healthy life. Just a few weeks ago, Smyth County Humane Society in Virginia was able to purchase 900 pounds of dry food and 380 cans of food through donations

Pet food pantries don’t have to be through an organization in order to make a difference, though. A Niagara County-based mother and daughter took the issue into their own hands. A year ago, the two worked with Community Missions to create a pet food pantry. They do the legwork, traveling around the area to pick up donations and then distribute them at Community Missions.

Since 2010, the ASPCA has given more than $400,000 in grant money so that shelters can incorporate pet food pantries into their services.

Photo Credit: MariaMorri

95 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Amanda M.
Amanda M1 years ago

Great to see these programs in operation-we need this sort of help throughout the US! Many people have trouble feeding their pets as well as themselves due to economic difficulties, and many pets are being abandoned at shelters because of job loss, moving due to the economy, or worse. Pets are family too!

SEND
Muff-Anne York-Haley
Muff-Anne Y1 years ago

Great dea:)

SEND
Amy C.
Amy C1 years ago

ty

SEND
Amy C.
Amy C1 years ago

ty

SEND
Amy C.
Amy C1 years ago

ty

SEND
Vivian B.
Vivian B1 years ago

We need this in OK! It would be a blessing for everybody!
Thanks for the food for our furbabies!!! FANFRIGGENTASTIC!!!

SEND
s g.
s g1 years ago

GOD BLESS YOU WHO PERFORM THIS SERVICE!

SEND
Nadine M.
Nadine M1 years ago

I opened a pet food pantry in Maine back in May of 2015, No Bowl Empty Pet Food Pantry. We are currently help to feed 282 dogs and cats every month and the numbers are constantly growing. There is a need out there and very few places for people to turn. In addition to food we also offer toys, treats, cat litter, leashes, collars, blankets, coats, boots, food and water bowls. Check us out on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nobowlemptypetpantry/

SEND
BRUNA ZULIAN
BRUNA Z1 years ago

What this organization is doing, to feed the pets of a family in trouble or help people that are fostering animals or have taken in stray animals is so deep. It is not just food to support animals. They are supporting these people's feelings, passions, minds. How sweet!

SEND