Imagine having no money but a very hungry dog or cat to feed. Unfortunately, this sad scenario is happening all over the country, with many heartbreaks for both our four-legged friends and their owners. “Since the economy took a turn for the worse, we’ve seen a lot more animal surrenders,” says Tricia Sebes, volunteer and rescue coordinator for the McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “The reason is definitely increasing that people can’t afford to feed their pets.”
We needed to help. Earlier this month, with the help of Freekibble.com, Halo donated almost 6,000 cans of Spot’s Stew to McKamey and two other shelters and rescues in Tennessee, which have been distributing the food to pet owners in need.
“We are absolutely thrilled to do it,” says Lisa Reeves of the Nashville Humane Association, which gives out their Halo Spot’s Stew every Sunday and Wednesday. “If we have (the food) and we can help someone, we will. We try not to turn anyone away.”
In addition to the food, all three organizations (the third is A New Leash on Life in Lebanon) received a variety of other Halo products, including Herbal Healing Salve and X-tra C, an instant vitamin C powder.
“It makes me feel great to know that this food is getting to people who really need help feeding their animals,” says Mimi Ausland, the 13-year-old founder of Freekibble.com. “I know that because of this, people will be able to keep their pets and feed them a really good food.”
The Nashville Humane Association first started distributing food in November, 2008, and since then have helped some 500 families keep their pets. “I think it’s hard for some of these people to come in,”
says Reeves. “You have families who never had to ask for help, and now they do.
“People have been in tears, they’ve said, ‘I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t here,'” Reeves continues. “It’s sad, i think pride gets in the way of some people but they have to come in and do it.”
On November 5th, Freekibble.com had a Hi-5 promotion: for every trivia question someone answered about a dog or cat, 50 pieces of of kibble would be donated by Halo. That day, some 60,000 people played Freekibble.com, raising 5 million pieces of kibble, or the equivalent of 20,000 Meals of Halo. And the need to help these financially-strapped pet owners continues to grow.
At McKamey Animal Center, there has not been the usual post-holiday slowdown in animal surrenders, says Sebes, noting that the 26,000-square-foot shelter now has 288 dogs and puppies, 455 animals in all. McKamey has shared the donation with two local food banks to reach more pet parents in need. “They’re very grateful we have this a service to them,” says Sebes. “People come to us for help with their animals and it’s great we can provide for them.”