A New Program to Help Struggling Families and the Homeless Feed and Keep Their Pets
What beautiful pictures and wonderful thought. The dog is man’s best friend! The question is, “Is man dog’s best friend?”
ALBUQUERQUE KRQE.com – h/t to TLA: Although the government has offered food stamps to struggling Americans for decades, there haven’t been any provisions for their four-legged family members. Until now. Marc Okon has launched Pet Food Stamps, a New York-based nonprofit that will give qualifying pet owners throughout the U.S. (who must be receiving government assistance for themselves) funds to buy food for their animals from the website PetFoodDirect.
In the program’s first two weeks, Okon says he has already fielded more than 12,000 applications. "It’s aimed at preventing people from having to choose between feeding themselves or their animals or having to surrender them to a high-kill shelter," Okon said.
ALBUQUERQUE KRQE.com: A new program to offer pet food stamps is getting a big response from New Mexicans.
The nonprofit Pet Food Stamps is not a government program but works just like human food stamps. Families who qualify for state assistance could qualify for assistance in feeding their pets as well.
Local animal shelters hope the assistance will ease their overpopulation problems.
"We distribute roughly 3,000 pounds of pet food each week in Albuquerque," said Dawn Glass, marketing director at Animal Humane New Mexico.
Animal Humane’s emergency food bank feeds about 400 families every month in Albuquerque, but the help is only for dire situations. There is no long-term help.
Now a new national group Pet Food Stamps is changing that.
"It’s aimed at preventing people from having to choose feeding themselves or their animals or having to surrender them to a high-kill shelter," explained founder Marc Okon.
Okon launched the New York based nonprofit two weeks ago, and It’s already seeing a huge response from New Mexicans.
"We’ve had tons of people that have submitted applications," Okon said. "I think about 300 to 400 people to be exact." And that’s in New Mexico alone. In just two weeks the program has had more than 12,000 requests for assistance.
To qualify families must prove they’re receiving state assistance. If approved they’ll get a monthly allotment to spend at national retailer PetFoodDirect..
Local shelters say they’re thrilled about the idea of long-term relief.
"If we can have an ongoing source for these families while they’re trying to get on their feet, that’s huge" Glass said.
Glass hopes it will also keep more families with their families instead of state and city facilities.
"When people are going through difficult situations, where they’ve lost their jobs or their home is foreclosed, the last thing they need to do is lose their very best friend," Glass added.
Applications can be filled out on the Pet Food Stamps website .
Because the organization is a nonprofit, it is also in need of monetary donations while they search for federal funds and grants.
*This is a long overdue program. With the federal food stamp program you can buy candy, soda, and junk food but you can’t buy pet food or a pre-cooked chicken or off the dollar menu at any fast food place. If you are truly homeless and living on the street or in your car being able to feed your pet, sometimes your only companion, or eat a warm meal when you have nowhere to cook, would be worth a lot. It is perhaps time to re-consider some of the restrictions and impose a few new ones.
**If you can donate or perhaps work with this program, Pet Food Stamps, to help all families in need feed their pets, please do so.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals … and its weakest members.” …Ghandi