Halloween is almost here, which means the holiday season isn't too far behind. Already there are Christmas tree displays at Target and BJ's, not to mention the whole seasonal section at the grocery store has one shelf dedicated to Halloween candy while all the rest of the space for Christmas and Hanukkah items. It drives my husband nuts, which is enough of a reason to love this seasonal shift. :)
I've also noted several collection boxes for food and clothing items on the campuses where I teach. With the current state of the economy, the food banks here in NJ have been overwhelmed with clients, as I'm sure is the case all around the country. Students all over are trying to help out with various food drives leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.
When we were talking about it the other night, my sister, a veterinary technician at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital, brought up an interesting point I've never thought of. She contacted a local food bank and asked if they'd had any inquiries about pet food, since she wanted to donate some bags of kibble in addition to regular food items.
It seems like an obvious connection to make; if people are having trouble feeding their families, of course they'd be having issues feeding their pets. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before. We routinely donate supplies to the local animal shelters, but those only benefit the animals in that specific shelter. Providing pet food to a food pantry helps prevent those who are struggling financially from having to give up their pet because they can't afford to feed them anymore.
She also told me that an animal hospital in our area serves as a pet food bank. People can drop off food for cats, dogs, and other household pets that is distributed by the local Meals on Wheels program. How cool is that?
The next time you're thinking about what to donate to the local food drive, consider adding a bag of kibble or a case of canned food to your list. Save Our Pets Food Bank provides a listing of pet food banks nationwide. If your area isn't included, check with your local food pantry about donating some pet food. They may think you're crazy at first, but if you explain why you want to donate the food, they're likely to understand.