Jackie Stobbart may consider her cats priceless, but for a low-income Victoria resident who depends on disability assistance, the cost of feeding them has become a problem.
Thanks to a new pet-food bank offered through Our Place, Stobbart now has an emergency supply of food for Cleo, Casey and Buddy.
“It’s really good that they actually help people on low-income because we wouldn’t be able to do it on how much we have,” said Stobbart, who also volunteers with the pet-food bank. “I just don’t have the funds.”
The pet-food bank has provided dog and cat food and treats — typically in portions large enough to feed one large animal for a week — to individuals and families in need since January.
The program is co-ordinated by the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society and administered through Our Place, a community service provider.
Almost half of the clients at Our Place have pets, according to director Don Evans.
“We get requests for pet food on a daily basis,” he said.
On average, 60 people bring their pets to each Vets for Pets event at Our Place, which offers free veterinary services on a monthly basis. While food is already provided there, the new pet-food bank will be available throughout the week, during Our Place’s operating hours.
Evans said pets serve important roles for Our Place clients.
“People living on the street and living in poverty often have pets,” he said. “The common need is around companionship, but a lot of people have pets for protection as well.”
The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society started the pet food bank project a year ago in Sooke. Co-founder Kai Yates, who now lives and works downtown, brought it to Our Place after noticing many pet owners in need in the downtown region.
“I was noticing how many homeless people there were with pets,” said Yates, who now lives and works downtown. “We started talking to vet clinics and pet stores around and I thought, if we could collect animal food, we could make little hampers to give out.”
While the program has been successful, it is in constant need of donations. To make a donation, contact 778-352-2999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.