The BC SPCA in Prince Rupert has partnered with the Greater Massett Food Bank to provide the food for those pet guardians in Haida Gwaii affected by the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for remote communities in British Columbia due to the inaccessibility of resources as well as a need to protect residents where resources are limited.
“We are very reliant on tourism here on Haida Gwaii so things have been very quiet here,” says Leila Riddall, a coordinator who works with the Greater Massett Food Bank. “Most people are unemployed now unless they are essential workers. We just recently had flights return here in November and only twice per week, so we had to rely on BC Ferries and the barges for our freight until recently.”
Over the last six months BC SPCA staff has coordinated three large shipments of supplies to the Greater Massett Food Bank. To date the BC SPCA in Prince Rupert has shipped more than 800 kilos of dry pet food and close to a thousand cans of wet food to Haida Gwaii, with transportation courtesy of Bandstra.
“We reached out to the community groups on Haida Gwaii, because we saw the impact of the COVID-19 in remote areas,” says Prince Rupert branch manager Joe Griffiths, “By getting the food directly to the food bank, we were able to reach people who may need support for their pets in a safe way.”
Ridall says the food bank donations have been a great source of relief for low-income families who want to help their pets but are having a tougher time than usual during the pandemic.
“Pet guardians are very thankful and often comment that they greatly appreciate the help,” she says. “Their pets are also very thankful! Being in such a remote location costs are high and selection is very minimal, so the food donations help a lot.”
Christmas was special for many pet guardians in need as the food bank was able to put together 35 dog and 35 cat gift bags with treats and goodies donated by the BC SPCA.
“Since working with the BC SPCA we have been able to not only take care of the people but also their beloved pets as well. By not having to purchase pet food, treats and supplies we have been able to turn that money back to the extra donation bags needed in the community,” says Christopher Horner of the Greater Massett Food Bank.
Food bank services are available every other Monday at the Greater Massett Food Bank. Pet guardians in need can contact Horner at 250-626-7517 for more information.
The Prince Rupert BC SPCA location has also been providing local community members pet food as needed, in addition to regularly distributing pet food donations to the Terrace area. If you are in Prince Rupert and need support, please contact the branch directly at 778-884-1877.