The Humane Ohio Pet Food Bank, started in 2009, anticipates a shortage of food due to a drop in food donations.
The program makes pet food available to financially strapped pet owners as well as to people caring for free-roaming cats in Lucas, Wood and Monroe counties.
‘This program helps make sure pets and stray cats do not go hungry, and helps owners keep their pets even in tough financial times,” said Jill Borkowski, marketing director of Humane Ohio, a non-profit group that offers low cost spay and neuter services for dogs and cats.
“The food bank program also helps ensure that people do not have to share their own meal with their pets and go hungry themselves,” she said.
|A girl scout troop from the Franciscan Academy held a pet food drive
at school to collect food and monetary donations for the food bank.
The group distributed almost 70,000 lbs. of pet food in 2012 and is expected to give out at least 80,000 lbs this year.
However, one of the pet food stores, which had provided the largest donation of food to the program by giving bags of food that were torn or slightly damaged, will no longer be doing that, said Borkowski.
“One of the pet supply stores who was a huge pet food donor had a change in corporate policy and the loss of food was unplanned for and is causing a shortage,” she said.
“We rely entirely on donations from the public to make this program possible. We have no budget to go out and buy food unless we’ve received monetary donations that are earmarked especially for the pet food bank. We do ask pet food bank clients to donate $1 per month if they can so we get a little money that way to purchase food as needed but it’s not a lot. The biggest reason this program is possible is because of people in the community who donate a bag or can of food at Humane Ohio or in our pet food collection bins at Pet Finatics in Oregon, Pet Supplies Plus stores, Petco, and Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee,” said Borkowski.
The food bank provides wet and dry dog and cat food as well as bird food and small animal food, when possible. “It really just depends on what gets donated,” she said.
“We try to have special grant funding set aside to help our pet food bank clients cover the spay/neuter cost,” she said.
Pet owners and free-roaming cat caretakers in Lucas, Wood and Monroe counties are eligible as long as all of the pets in the household or all of the cats in a colony are spay/neutered.
People can donate food at Humane Ohio, Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., or in pet food collection bins at Petco, Pet Supplies Plus, Pet Finatics, and Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee. They can also donate food at any of the Humane Ohio events and fundraisers like Pet Photos with Santa at Lambertville Hardware, 8100 Secor Rd, three miles north of the state line, on November 23rd and December 7th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Groups, organizations and businesses have also held fundraising events to help the food bank, she said.
The Church of St. Andrew United Methodist at Heatherdowns and Byrne held its fourth annual “Pets in Poverty” event and pet food drive in September. The event collected about 3,500 lbs of pet food and $110 in monetary donations.
A Girl Scout Troop from the Franciscan Academy just held a pet food drive at school, which collected more than 100 lbs of food and a $50 monetary donation.
And Brown and Brown of Toledo and Omnicare both held “dress down” days and allowed their employees to wear casual clothes to work on a specific day if they brought a pet food donation for the Humane Ohio Pet Food Bank.
“We have not yet had to turn people away and we hope we never do (especially as we head into the holiday season and the giving season), but it does get very stressful some weeks when we’re super low and there’s a long line of people in need,” said Borkowski.
Since starting four years ago, the need for the food bank has grown. In 2012, the food bank served an average of 230 households per month and is serving an average of 283 households per month through 2013.
“As long as our food supply allows for it, we’ll give people food for up to two pets or free-roaming cats each month,” she said.
If you would like to help the food bank, please donate wet or dry dog or cat food or make a monetary donation earmarked especially for the pet food bank. You can send checks with “pet food bank” in the memo to Humane Ohio, 3131 Tremainsville Road, Toledo, Ohio, 43613, or donate online at www. Humaneohio.org. For more information, contact Humane Ohio at 419-266-5607.
“Every single bag or can of food donated is one more person helped and pet that is fed,” she said.