The Mountaineer Spay Neuter Assistance Program is donating 635 pounds of dog and cat food to area food pantries as another way to keep animals out of kill shelters.
M-SNAP’s primary goal is to reduce the number of unwanted, abandoned, stray and feral animals through spay/neuter surgeries. The nonprofit gives out vouchers so people can spay/neuter animals that normally wouldn’t be — thus reducing the number of animals that end up in a shelter and killed.
However, with many veterinarians deeming spay/neuter surgeries non-essential and not performing them, M-SNAP needed a new way to keep animals out of shelters, Treasurer Nancy Young said.
“Empty Bowls is a big deal around here,” she said. “So we thought Fill Empty Pet Bowls might be a way.”
Fill Empty Pet Bowls raised $750 and was part of a larger day of giving, #GivingTuesdayNow.
Young used the money raised to purchase 635 pounds of dog and cat food. Giant Eagle offered a discount for food purchased there, she said.
The food will be distributed to Starting Point Food Pantry in Arnettsville, Clay-Battelle Area Family Service Food Pantry, Native American Community Center Food Pantry in Wadestown, Covenant Church Food Pantry and Christian Help.
Lauren Martin, day manager at Starting Points Food Pantry, said pet food is a popular item and something they normally stock.
The majority of the pantry’s clients have pets, Martin said.
Starting Points also stocks other items such as hygiene items and cleaning supplies.
The Native American Community Center Food Pantry does give out pet food if they have it, but it’s not always something that’s in stock, Director Phyllis Bruce said.
The Wadestowns pantry serves about 70 families a month and also stocks items besides food.
It carries items such as zip-top bags, foil, toothpaste, antibiotic ointment and other personal hygiene and common household items people might need but can’t use their food stamps on, Bruce said.
To donate to Starting Points, call 304-680-0590, and to donate to the Wadestown pantry call 304-662-9201.
Young said M-SNAP picked more rural nonprofits because they were the most likely to have clients with pets and most likely to need the help.
Hopefully, the food helps people keep their pets rather than abandoning them or dropping them off at a shelter, Young said.
“I think it’s a success for us, since we’re so specific in our assistance,” Young said. “It plays right into our mission, our goal.”
She said she appreciates everyone’s support in helping achieve that success.