By now we’re all aware of the gravity of the situation with the coronavirus pandemic. And I’m not just referring to the health impacts – although those are pretty bad too – I’m talking about the economic impacts they’ve had on people. If you’re someone who is currently reading this while working from the comfort of your home, then consider yourself very lucky, because there are a lot of people out there who have lost their jobs. Because of this very tragic reality, it’s more important than ever that we come together as communities to help one another get through the difficult times ahead.
And that is what one animal shelter in San Diego, California is doing by setting up a drive-thru pet food collection for those people who have lost their jobs. The Helen Woodward Animal Center was the one to launch the charity initiative in order to assist those in need who have either lost their jobs or have gone without a paycheck as a result of the current pandemic and are struggling to feed their pets.
The shelter will be handing out a two-week supply of dog or cat food per household/animal. In addition, with the help of the litter company, Naturally Fresh, they will also be giving out a free 6lb. bag of cat litter to the first 200 cat owners.
While conducting their “drive-thru,” they will be doing their best to stick to social distancing guidelines, meaning they will be scheduling appointment times and staggering them 10 minutes apart. Additionally, all participants are asked not to get out of their cars while picking up their supplies.
For those interested, you first must qualify for the program, as well as fill out an appointment request form on the shelter’s website in order to be a part of the program. The shelter is hoping to schedule additional distributions, provided that food supplies remain available.
Director of outreach services at Helen Woodward Animal Center, Christen Hanley, released a statement which said, “Pets are members of our families too and we want to assist in keeping them fed in this stressful time. Keeping families together, healthy and happy is one way we can help others. We’re seeing so many members of our community impacted and we hope that this will bring a little peace to families with pets in this time of need.”
As it turns out, this isn’t the first time that Helen Woodward Animal Center has done something nice for the community. Only last year they introduced their AniMeals program which provided almost 500,000 meals for the pets of San Diego County residents who were experiencing issues being able to leave their homes.
Hopefully, this bit of news will inspire others to want to get in the community spirit and help out. Since right now there is a huge push for self-isolation, it’s a great time to volunteer to be a foster parent for a pet.
As Julie Castle, the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, told PEOPLE, “If you don’t have a pet and are thinking about getting one, now is the perfect time to ‘try it on’ by fostering from your local shelter. Shelters and pet adoption facilities nationwide need people to foster pets on a temporary basis.”
In fact, fostering a pet at the moment would tremendously help local shelters by relieving the pressure they’re under with the decreased adoptions, as well as the increase in take-ins. The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association have all tried to stop the spread of misinformation by informing people that pets aren’t at risk of spreading the coronavirus. Plus, science has shown that animals actually make you feel happier, therefore healthier. So, if you’re in a position to foster, now would be an incredible time to step up and help out.