SPCA asking for help to fill pet food banks
The cupboard is nearly bare at the B.C. SPCA's struggling pet food banks this spring.
The animal welfare agency says inflationary pressures and an early start to wildfire season have made it hard to keep up with demand. The evacuation of residents and their pets from Fort St. John added fuel to the fire.
“When guardians and their pets are evacuated due to a natural disaster like wildfires or floods, they can be away from their homes for weeks at a time,” says Diane Waters, an outreach specialist at the B.C. SPCA.
“They often rely on the SPCA's pet food banks for food and supplies until they are allowed to return.”
Last year, SPCA pet food banks provided over half a million meals to pets in need. And the demand keeps growing.
People on a fixed income are finding it especially difficult as the cost of living keeps climbing. And more and more agencies are looking to the SPCA for help.
“The number of organizations we are currently supporting has risen from 139 to 155,” says Waters. “We are constantly getting requests for pet food and supplies.”
Among those new partners is the Broadway Youth Resource Centre in Vancouver, where the SPCA is keeping the pet pantry stocked.
“Through our partnership with the B.C. SPCA, I have come to realize the immense love that the youth who come to our centre have for their pets, and the substantial portion of their income they dedicate to providing for them,” says Luke Guilbault, a youth worker at the centre.
“I have had discussions with young people who often go hungry so they can feed their pets, who are very often their best friends,” says Guilbault.
“The positive impact of this program on our youth and their animal companions really cannot be overstated.”
Demand has also surged in the Victoria area, with a 25 per cent increase in demand for pet food there since last year.
“The current food security landscape in our community and rising costs of living have had an impact,” says Breanne Beckett, the SPCA's senior manager there.
“The B.C. SPCA's efforts to increase awareness of the program have also meant more people are reaching out for help.”
People who want to help out can make a donation at spca.bc.ca/donate, with a generous donor matching all contributions up to $10,000.
If you have or can purchase unopened pet food for community banks, the biggest need right now is dry and wet cat food and kitty litter.