The PAWS Pantry is a supplemental food program that assists the needs of low-income pet families and other non-profit human service organizations in San Diego. At a time when so many households are forced to cut corners to meet even the most basic of life’s necessities, oftentimes it is the pets that bear the burden. Something as simple as removing the challenge of resourcing pet food can be the difference between keeping an animal at home or having that same animal taken to a rescue or shelter. With the help of partner groups like The Petco Foundation and the Rescue Bank, as well as individual donations, we are able to supply high quality food to those most in need in order to ensure that these vulnerable pet families stay together.
But it is not just low-income pet families that benefit from this program. From preparation to distribution, the PAWS Pantry engages and assists many individuals (human and animal) in our community. Volunteer groups like Veterans Village of San Diego, Oasis Clubhouse, and Employment and Community Options help us take large bags of kibble and break them down into smaller individual portions for distribution. The groups come in anywhere from once a week to once a month, each time gaining meaningful work experience while contributing a valuable service to our organization.
After the food is bagged, it can be picked up at the PAWS San Diego office or at one of our monthly distribution centers with proof of low-income status. Families with dogs receive an 8-pound bag of kibble and those with cats get a 3.5-pound bag. Depending on the size of the pet and pet family this can help out for a week or a month, and we allow extra bags under certain circumstances. We also educate on the benefits of spaying and neutering animals and provide low-cost referrals for those in need. We are currently looking for dedicated individuals who might be interested in volunteering at a PAWS Pantry site. Locations and dates/times are flexible depending on your preference and availability. Please contact Lauren at outreach@pawssandiego for more information.
Surplus supplies of dry food are distributed in bulk to local rescue groups and shelters. Rescue groups like The Rescue House, Labradors and Friends, and The Barking Lot have all come to our office to load food supplies in their trucks to take back to their animals. Taking the burden of sourcing a food supply away from these groups, even if just momentarily, allows them to focus their efforts on finding forever homes for the animals.
Since its launch in November of 2012, the PAWS Pantry has helped thousands of pet families with food for their animals. We could not be more thrilled with the success of this program and the unintended but wonderful impact it has made on the greater San Diego community. For more information about PAWS San Diego’s programs, please visit pawssandiego.org/programs.