As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and many people are left without jobs, more and more pet owners are asking for help in providing for their animals.
That’s where the Animal Food Bank comes in, which serves families from Salmon Arm all the way down to Osoyoos. The group distributes food and pet supplies to people who may be struggling to provide for their animals.
Co-founder Nicole Wilks said when they first launched last year in December, they distributed 2,000 pounds of pet food within two weeks. It levelled out to about 150 pounds of food weekly in January and February, but when COVID-19 hit the team saw an increase in requests for assistance.
“When COVID hit, we spiked to 1,200 pounds a week, which is crazy,” she said.
“So I anticipate, because things aren’t better for people financially this year, that we’re going to see a need for at least 2,000 to 3,000 and possibly 4,000 pounds of food in December alone.”
She said the Animal Food Bank fills a gap left by traditional food banks.
“Food banks aren’t mandated to provide food for pets. So when push comes to shove and priorities have to shift due to demand, a lot of them stop providing pet food.”
“We fill that gap to provide so people don’t have to share their food with their pets,” Wilks said.
She added that she’s grateful for all the donations they’ve received throughout their first year, but is asking those who are able to keep donating to meet increasing needs.
The Animal Food Bank is scheduled to have a pet food drive throughout December, where residents can go into the food bank’s partner pet stores, choose a tag, and buy the item written on the tag to donate.
For more information on other ways to donate, as well as a list of their partner stores, visit the Animal Food Bank’s website.