Pet Food Bank helps four-legged friends in need

November 19, 2008

By Stephanie Small

With the holidays approaching, many people make it a tradition to help the needy, be it through donating clothing, shelter or food.

Claudia Connolly, a resident of the Azalea Apartments on Northeast Creek Way, poses with Elsie, her 5-year-old dilute calico cat. Photo by Greg Farrar

Claudia Connolly, a resident of the Azalea Apartments on Northeast Creek Way, poses with Elsie, her 5-year-old dilute calico cat. Photo by Greg Farrar

This season, consider helping out a four-legged friend as well. The Humane Society’s Pet Food Bank is celebrating its 25th anniversary of helping low-income community members, senior citizens and those disabled by AIDS feed their pets. Based in of Bellevue, the humane society helps citizens in Issaquah, Sammamish and surrounding areas.

The program allows those who have pets to be able to feed themselves as well as their companion, without having to choose between the two. According to the Humane Society, pets are a great health benefit. They can decrease high blood pressure and feelings of loneliness, as well as promote socialization and exercise.Suanne Nagata, coordinator of community outreach, said the humane society donates pet food to about 32 senior centers and food banks across the region.

“We donate up to 9,000 pounds of pet food a month, which helps to feed about 1,200 pets,” she said.

The Issaquah Valley Senior Center distributes some of this pet food. Jan Korieth, an employee, calls the center a pick-up facility for those who need the food.

“We just take the food from the Seattle Humane Society and keep it here for those who express the need for it,” she said. 

Issaquah resident Claudia Connolly uses the pet food bank as a source of food for her cat. During her two years in the Issaquah area, she’s relied upon the free service to be able to keep her four-legged friend.

“This is truly a great service, and has really helped me out a lot,” Connolly said. “My cat loves the food she gets from the help of the pet food bank.” 

The humane society’s pet food supply comes mainly from private donors. The greatest need right now is for dry cat food, though any type of pet food donation is accepted, Nagata said.

Unfortunately, donations are slow, especially during this time of the year and in view of the current economic situation, and shelves at the pet food bank have been looking sparse, said Brenda Barnette, CEO of the humane society.

“Sometimes, we are forced to buy the food that we donate,” she said. “Food drives and community events help us out a lot.”

Nagata recommends taking action at a local level.

“You can help by offering to put donation barrels at schools and stores,” she said. “There have even been youngsters who have had birthday parties where each guest has brought a bag of pet food to donate. It’s really helped us out a lot.”

How to help or get help

Learn more about volunteering or donating food at  www.seattlehumane.org.

To be considered for Pet Food Bank services, low-income senior citizens should call 649-7567.

Stephanie Small is a student in the University Of Washington Department Of Communication News Laboratory.

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