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Article Archive >> Community

From the Desk of Duffy: Pet Food Bank

From the Desk of Duffy
Pet Food Bank

As a regular columnist for the Humane Society of Washington County, I felt compelled to write about the Pet Food Bank. It's a program that benefits a lot of my friends and their pet companions.
I've included a photo of the truck that is used to pickup thousands of pounds of food, litter, treats and toys a week for the PFB program. That's right - thousands of pounds. Despite that huge amount, the two, forty-foot storage trailers we use to house all this free food never looks used. As fast as we get it in, we give it away. But even though it is hard work for the volunteers and staff to unload, sort and reload, they're glad to be helping so many animals and people in need. Also, all my friends who are temporarily housed at the shelter are delighted to have good food, plenty of clean litter and afternoon snacks. I even have a friend--named Sparky who was able to stay with his family because of the Pet Food Bank.
They found him running the streets in a neighborhood where kids chase dogs with sticks and sometimes throw rocks. They kept him because he was small and would be an easy keeper. I think that means he wouldn't eat much or take up much room.
Everything was going great--playing with the kids, walks with the dad, sleeping on the bed--life couldn't be much better. Then wham! Things started to change. The dad "lost" his job? Sparky wasn't worried because he had been lost once and they found him--they would find his job. But then he heard them talking about "cut backs", "tightening of the belt" and other things like that.
Then one day they loaded Sparky in the car. He assumed they were going on vacation, to a dog park, or somewhere fun - like they had done before. But instead they brought him to my shelter--the Humane Society of Washington County. They said they couldn't afford to keep him. Everyone was crying.
But my friend Star who runs the PFB said, "You don't have to give up Sparky. We have a Pet Food Bank." She told Sparky's family how it worked. They could get free food, toys and other supplies once a month. They just needed to enroll, show proof of public assistance and come once a month. It sounded perfect...and it is.
Sparky's family now picks up dog food, treats and toys once a month. All for Sparky! He no longer feels like a drain on the family's limited resources. They feel better and so does Sparky.
This program was started in 2003 and now serves more than 300 Washington County clients--people like Sparky's family--running a little low on funds but still wanting to provide a loving home for their animal companion. We pets make important contributions you know. People are healthy and happier when we're around--and there are studies to prove it!
In addition to individual clients, the Pet Food Bank also provides food to the community of animal welfare organizations: some 51 agencies in four states, to be exact. Organizations like Pigs Animal Sanctuary in Shepherdstown, West Virginia; Mountainside Dog Rescue in Pennsylvania; Friskies Wildlife Rescue in Woodstock, Maryland; and many more. By sharing those donations, the number of individuals and companion animals served increases exponentially.
You need look no further than the Humane Society in Washington County for help for animals and the people who care about them. The Society preserved Sparky's happy home life and made it even better.
Word is getting out. Something this good sells itself. The Pet Food Bank Program gets most of its clients because people talk--and the folks at the Social Service agencies are talking to their clients, and it's getting bigger all the time.
The HSWC depends on contributions to keep the Pet Food Bank Program working. Fortunately, the HSWC, located at the crossroads of Interstates 70 and 81 is home to many major distribution centers. Companies like PetSmart, American Processing, Target and Wal-Mart are just a few of the many companies that donate to the Pet Food Bank.

The Humane Society of Washington County exists to improve the quality of life for abused, neglected, and unwanted animals by sheltering those at risk and providing educational venues that strive to deepen individual commitment to humane values such as kindness, compassion, personal responsibility, and respect for all living things. 301-733-2060

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