Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that the recession has hit families with pets especially hard. Shelters across the country have seen an increase in animals being surrendered because their families can no longer afford to care for them.
Fifteen percent of the American population is on food stamps, according to a report from NBCNews.com, now administered through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and an EBT card rather than booklets of Monopoly-like money. That’s almost 50 million people who can barely feed themselves, let alone their pets.
But sometimes pets are our only consolation when we’re going through hard times, and if there’s anything we can do to help families keep their animal friends, we should.
Marc Okon realized this need and decided to take action. Last month, he launched a nonprofit called Pet Food Stamps, designed to help struggling pet owners feed their beloved companions.
How does it work? If you qualify for state assistance, you could qualify for Pet Food Stamps.
Pet Food Stamps isn’t a government program; it’s a privately funded nonprofit organization that provides monthly deliveries of pet food through a partnership with pet food home-delivery company PetFlow. Families can receive pet food aid for up to six months.
People can apply for Pet Food Stamps through the website, and those who wish to make a donation in support of the program can also do so via the site. By the end of 2013, the organization hopes to be able to provide free or heavily discounted vet care for beneficiaries as well.
The demand has been so high that the Pet Food Stamps website has been crashing on a pretty regular basis, which I think reflects how desperately needed this program is. If you want to sign up or make a donation and the site is down, please keep trying.
Note: Pet Food Stamps’ 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization status is still pending, so if you search the IRS’s nonprofit database, you won’t find the organization listed just yet.