Charlie’s pet food bank provides free and low-cost pet services for people who are homeless, living outdoors, low-income and senior pet guardians in downtown Vancouver.
This community-based initiative was created to improve the lives of pets living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Launched in 2000 by the BC SPCA’s Chief Animal Health Officer at the time, Dr. Jamie Lawson, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Charlie’s is named after a starving dog that came into our animal hospital in critical condition. Sadly, we weren’t able to save Charlie, and he passed away after three weeks of intensive care.
543 Powell Street
Thursdays 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
How Charlie’s helps pets and people
The human-animal bond is powerful. Studies show that having a pet helps people’s mental and physical health. Pets give us constant, unconditional love. Many people tell us that their pets have saved their lives.
As part of the Downtown Eastside, we have become a resource for many pet guardians and community support workers. To help pet guardians we take a harm reduction approach by showing respect for the person and building relationships. Charlie’s is a volunteer-operated program and all pet food and supplies are donated. A group of dedicated BC SPCA volunteers allows us to help more animals and maintain a presence in the community.
We strive to provide a supportive, respectful and friendly environment. We want Charlie’s to be a safe place for visitors, members, volunteers and animals.
Charlies pet food bank
Visit us on Thursdays to pick up pet supplies or register for a free spay/neuter (if you qualify).
Items distributed weekly
- Pet food – dog, cat and small pet (dry and wet)
- Cat and dog treats
- Cat litter
- Cat litter boxes
- Toys – dog, cat and small pet
- Collars, harnesses and leashes
- Dog coats
- Pet carriers
Services provided weekly
- Cat and dog nail trims
- Dog training tips
- Information on basic pet care, behaviour and animal by-laws
- Referral to animal hospital if needed
- Registration for discounted cat/dog spay/neuter
Registering for Charlie’s pet food bank
Please register in person to pick up pet food or supplies (one family member per household). This helps us ensure pet food is available for everyone.
To register, we ask for:
- A piece of government-issued identification (i.e., driver’s license, passport, Care Card, etc.)
- Proof of address (utility bill, rental agreement, verification by building management or case worker)
If you’re not able to provide one of these documents, please speak with a volunteer.
You can register at Charlie’s pet food bank on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Once registered you can visit Charlie’s weekly to receive pet food, litter, and other supplies. Registered members may also request specific items. This registration is for the pet food bank; a separate registration is required for the free vet clinic.
Charlie’s Fund – Free or low-cost surgeries for pets
We provide support for veterinary treatment and life-saving surgeries, for people who qualify, thanks to our donors. Through Charlie’s Fund we cover all or, on occasion, most of the cost for veterinary services for people who:
- Live in supporting housing or a single room occupancy (SRO) residence
- Are homeless and living in B.C.
- Require follow-up treatment recommended by our volunteer veterinarians at Charlie’s free vet clinic
- Have been recognized by one of our animal protection officers as someone who is experiencing hardship and requires financial assistance to provide medical care for your pet
I can’t afford to get my pet fixed
Visit Charlie’s to see if you qualify for a discounted spay or neuter for your cat or dog. Your pet must be at least six months of age to get fixed. We’ll take your name and information and give it to our BC SPCA Vancouver hospital. The hospital will call you to book a spay or neuter appointment. If you can’t come down to Charlie’s, call our hospital to see if you qualify for a discounted spay/neuter and then book an appointment to get your pet fixed.
I want to donate to Charlie’s
Thank you for thinking of us and wanting to help. We are always in need of donations. Our biggest needs are:
- Pet food – both dry and wet dog, cat, small pet (food not open or expired)
- Cat litter
- Hay for small pets
- Cash donations
You can drop off donated goods at the BC SPCA Vancouver Branch.
Cash donations can be made at any BC SPCA Branch; just let staff know you would like your donation to go to Charlie’s pet food bank to help the BC SPCA support people in need with our free vet clinic and follow-up treatments or surgeries.
How do I volunteer for Charlie’s?
Charlie’s relies on volunteers for many things like picking up donations, distributing food, providing veterinary care and many other professional services.
If you’re interested in volunteering with us, please learn more about volunteering for the BC SPCA and check out our current opportunities at Charlie’s.
I need help with vet care
If you’re in need of financial assistance for your pet’s vet care, find out more about what the BC SPCA does to help people in need.
Thanks to our community partners
Mission Possible & Jacob’s Well
BC SPCA Hospital