ThanksGIVING: The Importance Of Pet Food Banks & Why You Should Donate This Holiday Season

ThanksGIVING: The Importance Of Pet Food Banks & Why You Should Donate This Holiday Season 

No matter what situation you find yourself in, there is always something to be grateful for, and it’s essential to spread the gratitude to your local community (and beyond) no matter what time of year. 

And with Thanksgiving around the corner, you might be thinking about what you want to “give thanks” for this holiday season, and maybe –just maybe– you’ve even started thinking about what else you could be “giving” away.  

One fantastic way to give thanks is by donating money or food to needy pets –and we’re not talking about the pets sitting in shelters over the holidays (THIS time!). There is another pet demographic we want to focus on for this blog because, unfortunately, in this day and age, not every pet owner has enough money to properly feed and care for their furry best friends. 

So while these four-legged pups (and cats!) may have shelter, they might lack proper access to adequate food or medical care when needed due to the financial constraints of their owners.

Why Donating Food To Pets Matters

Donating is a great way to give back to those who need it, especially during the holidays when people are in the festive spirit and more willing to give. According to the Blackbaud Institute, US charitable donations “tend to increase by October, November, and December, with donations from these months representing 37% of the total [yearly] amount.” 

While we immediately think of giving money to people in need (which is FANTASTIC and 100% worthwhile), we often forget that people facing financial hardship often have pets that need love and attention, too. 

Luckily, Thanksgiving Food drives (and all-year-round food drives) for pets are a great way to help low-income families keep their pets healthy and fed instead of surrendering them to the county shelter.

Providing pet food for those experiencing challenging times allows families to increase their ability to care for pets to keep them out of shelters and with their families where they belong. 

Keeping Pets With Their Owners Vs.Taking Them To Shelters

You may be wondering –if pets are going hungry, surely, they can be taken to shelters where they can be fed, taken care of, and *potentially rehomed, right?!

We wondered the same thing, and we did our research!

Unfortunately, most pet shelters are extremely stressed due to a lack of funding, a lack of space for animals that are being forfeited for various reasons throughout the year. 

According to the ASPCA, approximately, 

  • 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.
  • 4.1 million shelter animals are adopted each year
  • 810,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners.
  • 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized

Even when you run all these figures, we can see the main issue is the sheer NUMBER of animals going through the shelter system. It’s a lot to handle, whether the animals get rehomed, taken back by their owners, or something else.

On the flip side, when a pet is happy and healthy with its family –no matter how financially strapped they are– it’s often better to keep them together and supplement them with food donated by others. 

Most owners don’t want to give up their pets, but unfortunately, challenging financial times can take the choice out of their hands. 

So why not give families back a choice and allow them to keep their pets if donations can provide them with all their dietary and medical needs? 

While we’re on the topic of pet owners falling on hard times, it’s important to talk about the pets of the homeless population because, most times, these pets need just as much help as their owners. 

Feeding Pets of the Homeless

During our research, we found this wonderful organization that is the “first and one of a few national animal organizations focused on feeding and providing emergency care to pets of homeless people.” (Pets Of The Homeless)

According to their site, 5-10% of homeless people have dogs or cats, and some areas reach a rate as high as 25%. Unfortunately, most homeless shelters don’t allow pets, forcing people to “choose between shelter or giving up their best friend.”

As dog advocates here at Pure Earth Pets, we know that dogs and other pets can provide companionship, security, and contribute to our overall mental health. You can read more about how dogs can improve a human’s mental health in this article.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness agrees, stating, “evidence shows that animal companionship is fortifying and contributes to the emotional well-being of people experiencing homelessness, including encouraging owners to obtain sobriety, leave abusive relationships, and avoid incarceration.”

If that’s not reason enough to keep owner and pets together –especially during hard times and the holidays – we don’t know what is. 

If you’re interested in contributing or getting involved in this organization, you can find participating pet food providers in your area that specifically work with Pets of the Homeless® using this link

Find An Pet Food Bank In Your Area

Have we convinced you to start giving back by helping pets in need? GOOD. The holidays should be a joyous time of year for everyone and every pet! 

Here are some pet food pantry organizations or events in areas around the US:

Don’t Forget To Feed Me is a pet food bank on a mission to supply pet food to local agencies to support pet owners experiencing difficult financial times. If you don’t see a food bank near you above, you might have luck searching through their database.

The Do’s & Dont’s Of Donating

If you’re considering donating to your local pet food bank, consider giving money directly or donating specific food items listed on the food bank’s website. Random bags of leftover pet food that have already been opened or small treat bags aren’t ideal. Pet food banks encourage donators to either bulk buy (which is cheaper and often better for the environment, anyways) or donate money so the shelter can bulk buy the items they actually need. 

Some shelters actually need more than just food for pets and might encourage the donation of leashes, collars, crates, pee pads, litter boxes, hygiene items, and more. So check with your local pet donation bank to see what they are asking for before you show up with food or other pet items! 

Hopefully, by now, you can see why pet food donation is a great option for those looking to give back. By assisting low-income families and individuals experiencing financial hardship who need help feeding their animal companions, you are giving someone (and their pets) a more joyous Thanksgiving and holiday season. 

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