LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Two Longview nonprofit organizations are teaming up to help those in need take care of their four-legged family members.
Longview residents who qualify for food assistance through Longview Community Ministries’ Food Box program can now request a bag of dog or cat food once a month.
The added resource comes from a new collaboration between Longview Community Ministries and Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center’s PAWS program. LCM began storing and distributing pet food in July.
“Many of our clients have pets in their home or as a companion on the street. When PAWS approached me about the idea of a partnership, I had no hesitations. It is very important to us that we provide quality nutrition for all family members and that will now include pets” LCM’s Executive Director Robin Fruia said in a press release.
Jackie Reynolds is the community outreach coordinator for the Longview animal shelter. She said the partnership was born out of the community’s generosity, which has received so much donated pet food, they needed to find another way to put it to good use.
“It just was a natural progression to join forces with Longview Community Ministries. They feed about 3,600 families a month here in the Longview and most of those families have dogs or cats at home. So this enables them to really do a well-rounded food box,” Reynolds said.
She believes the partnership will help keep more animals at home with their owners and out of the shelter.
Longview Animal Control Supervisor Chris Kemper agrees. He described the collaboration as a ‘food bank for animals’.
“To help people who potentially are in need and need to help bridge a gap, take care of their animals. What we have found is there are a lot of people in our community who traditionally turn over animals because they can’t afford to care for them,” Kemper said.
The new partnership aims to make it easier for those people to keep their animals.
“We tried to put ourselves in a position to be able to help them do that,” Kemper said. “If it’s simply a matter of ‘I need help feeding my animal’ and that helps them keep their animal and keep it in their home as opposed to turning it over to a shelter, then we want to do that.”
Animals in need are also getting help from businesses, including Dollar General. Instead of throwing away pet food that arrives damaged at their Longview distribution center, Dollar General donates those items to the animal shelter.
“That’s probably making up the bulk of the food that we’re actually giving out so it’s been a fantastic partnership with them. What we’re hoping now is we can actually get some other local places, other businesses involved in donating some of that food so that we can continue this program and we can kind of make it larger and we can really make an impact in our community.”
If you want to help by donating pet food, you can drop any size pet foods at the Longview Community Ministries Food Box from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.