The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 5, 2012

Pet food drive under way

By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Several local businesses are teaming up with Enid SPCA to help families in need provide food for their pets through the holiday season and economically tight winter months.

Bark Avenue Pet Taxi and Sitter Service is coordinating the fourth annual Hungry Bowl Pet Food Drive to benefit the Enid SPCA pet food pantry.

Bark Avenue owner Kyla Culbert said the pet food drive is designed to assist the Enid SPCA pet food pantry in its mission to help “local residents who sometimes struggle with pet expenses.”

“The goal of the pet food drive is to drastically decrease the number of pets who might be surrendered to the shelter because their owners cannot provide basic care for their pets due to financial reasons,” Culbert said.

Culbert said the food drive originated as a concept of Pet Sitters International “so that professional pet sitters could organize pet food drives in their own community to benefit their local animal shelters.”

Culbert said the pet food, which is collected at participating business, will be distributed through Enid SPCA’s pet food bank to assist local families in need who might be having trouble covering their pet expenses.

Enid SPCA Executive Director Vickie Grantz said the SPCA food pantry helps families in need throughout the year, but the holidays and winter in general are a time of greater need.

“Winter time is a difficult time for families anyway ... but with the higher utility bills a lot of people struggle this time of year,” Grantz said. “It’s sad, because sometimes things happen to people who are living paycheck to paycheck, and they end up having to make a decision between feeding their pets and feeding their children.”

That decision leads many families this time of year to surrender their pets to the SPCA or animal control, or to simply turn them loose, because they no longer can afford the pet food.

Grantz said the food pantry works to keep pets with their families, and out of shelters and off the streets.

“Unfortunately, there are not enough homes for every animal who needs a home,” she said. “Part of our goal is to help people hang on through the lean times, so maybe they can keep their pets with them, and hopefully they won’t have to relinquish their pets to animal control or another rescue organization.”

In addition to pet food, Grantz said Enid SPCA also collects gently used leashes, collars, pet beds, toys and grooming products for the use of local pet owners in need.

“Any kind of pet supplies, used or new, we’ll get everything washed and get it ready to be reused,” Grantz said.

She said all food and pet supplies donated to the Enid SPCA pet pantry are passed out to the community, and none of the pantry items are used for the animals at the SPCA.

“This is a community food bank, and everything that’s donated goes right back into the community,” Grantz said.

The food bank goes through more than 15,000 pounds of dog and cat food each year. Hungry Bowl Pet Food Drive organizers are hoping to collect at least 3,000 pounds of food to support that effort.

The hungry pet food drive has collection boxes available at: Evans Drug Center, 1108 W. Willow; The Groom Closet, 2005 W. Chestnut; JB Liquor, 420 S. Cleveland; Jumbo Foods, 2311 W. Willow; The Pet Salon, 626 N. Van Buren; PetSense, 3410 W. Garriott; Enid SPCA, 1116 Overland Trail; and United Supermarket, 4110 W. Garriott.

For information on the Enid SPCA pet food bank, call SPCA at (580) 233-1325.