By Blake DeVine, Jessica Brest
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – Local animal welfare organization C.A.R.E.4Paws held a pet food and donations drive over the past month to help support pet-owning families who are struggling because of the pandemic.
C.A.R.E.4Paws said a record-number of Santa Barbara County pet owners are struggling to provide for their animals during COVID-19.
So the organization decided to step in and help by encouraging community members to contribute pet food, cat litter or any amount of money at one of their many drop-off locations starting Sept. 1.
C.A.R.E.4Paws said they will be matching every dollar donated to them up to $10,000 through Sept. 30.
Monetary gifts will be used for the organization’s most pressing needs which could range from pet food to critical health services for animals as well as domestic violence survivors.
“Pets play a crucial role in people’s lives, especially during hard times, and the pandemic has created extremely challenging circumstances for a growing number of people,” said Isabelle Gullo, C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Executive Director and Cofounder. “When people struggle and cannot provide properly for their animals, everyone in the family suffers. Pets are at higher risk of ending up homeless. C.A.R.E.4Paws provides a range of different intervention services to prevent this kind of heartache and keep animals homebound.”
Plaza Deli in Santa Barbara stepped up to help the organization with its drive.
“The financial need and the struggle is going to be there and whatever I can do to be part of that, to keep that going, that’s why I decided to keep it going because I know the need is still going to be there and I’ll keep it going as long as it takes,” said Plaza Deli owner Larry Balducci.
In response to the pandemic, C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Companion Pet Assistance program distributes an average of four tons of pet food and cat litter per week to assist low-income, senior disabled and homeless pet owners throughout Santa Barbara County.
“It’s incredibly helpful because we have to buy a lot of our foods, so we’re spending roughly you know, $10,000 to $12,000 a month on pet food right now and if we didn’t have the donations that number could easily double,” said Chris Harris, C.A.R.E.4Paws Board President.
To participate in C.A.R.E.4Paws’ drive and support its unparalleled efforts, community members can go to care4paws.org/drive to give monetary gifts and find a list of locations for where to drop off donations of pet food and cat litter. This includes Lemos Feed & Supply’s six storefronts in Santa Barbara County, Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Club in Santa Barbara and Goleta, Advanced Veterinary Specialists (AVS), Montecito Pet Shop, La Cumbre Feed, PetSmart off Milpas Street in Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society/Dog Adoption Welfare Group (DAWG), and Santa Barbara County Animal Services’ shelter off Foster Road in Santa Maria.
For details about how to support the Pet Food & Matching Donation Drive, go to care4paws.org/drive.
For more information about C.A.R.E.4Paws and its services, visit care4paws.org or contact the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-968-2273.