As more individuals face the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many pet guardians are finding it difficult to stretch their budget to cover pet food and supplies. To help address this need, the BC SPCA in Cowichan & District expanded their pet food bank outreach program as soon as the pandemic began to help more people in need.
While the branch always had an operating pet food bank, during COVID-19 they have increased their pet food services and supported community partners including the Harvest House Food Bank, as well as organizations like the RCMP to help families in need.
“If pet guardians in Cowichan need help at this time, we want them to know we are here to support them,” says Colin Owen-Flood, animal care specialist at the BC SPCA in Cowichan. “Animals are such an important part of our lives, and we want to do everything we can to keep families and pets together.”
According to Owen-Flood the response to the pet food bank expansion and its partnership with the community has been positive. “I spoke to one fellow that has been laid off and he was worried about caring for his dog during this time, so he was really appreciative of the dog food we were able to provide him,” he says.
In terms of the branch’s joining up with local organizations to provide pet food within the region, including remote communities, Owen-Flood says it’s a crucial need to fill in the area. “We have been helping our local food banks meet the demand they see for pet food, so it makes it a lot easier for people to get everything they need at one food bank.”
So far the BC SPCA in Cowichan & District has provided more than 2600 kilograms of dog food and nearly 1000 kilograms of cat food to those families in need.
Individuals seeking assistance can pick up food for their pets by visiting the Cowichan & District BC SPCA for a no-contact pick-up during operating hours, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cowichan & District SPCA at 7550 Bell McKinnon Rd in Duncan. No appointment is necessary.
In accordance to COVID-19 safety measures, the available pet food is located in a wrapped safe-proof container at the branch’s gate. If the container is empty or does not contain the items sought, Owen-Flood advises pet guardians to call the shelter in order to refill at 250-746-4646.