On Saturday, C.A.R.E.4Paws raised over $4,000 dollars and collected 1.5 tons of food during its second annual Howliday Donation Drive-Thru to collect money and donations for pet families in need to keep pets safe, healthy and homebound.
Supporters were able to drive through and drop off dog and cat food and monetary donations with the C.A.R.E.4Paws team to support the organization’s intervention services.
“The event went really well, especially as we were worried about rainfall. We collected 1300-1400 lbs of dry food and 500-600 lbs of wet food, for a total of about 1.5 tons of food. I would say we had at least 50 donors drive through. There was a steady flow of cars coming through,” Isabelle Gullö, Executive Director and Co-founder of C.A.R.E.4Paws, told the News-Press. “We collected $4,410 dollars in general donations, in addition to a $20,000 donation from longtime donor of C.A.R.E.4Paws, Lyn Proctor. This donation is specifically earmarked for a third, 37-foot mobile unit to add to the existing mobile veterinary clinics of C.A.R.E4Paws. Lyn Proctor has significantly donated to this mobile unit in the past and came through with this surprise holiday donation. The total cost of the unit is $350,000 and we only have $80,000 left to raise thanks to Lyn’s generous donation.
“Slated to roll out in April 2023, this unit will join the two existing mobile veterinary care clinics which provide free and low cost critical pet wellness services for families in need in the community. Services provided include spays and neuters, veterinary care and vaccine clinics. Earlier in 2022 the mobile clinic services were expanded to San Luis Obispo County,” said Ms. Gullö.
Since its establishment in 2009, C.A.R.E.4Paws has worked to help families keep their pets by providing access to critical resources for low-income, senior, disabled and unhoused community members. In fact, since the pandemic started, C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Companion Pet Assistance program has distributed one million pounds of pet food throughout Santa Barbara county, compared to 4,000 pounds total in 2019.
“It was definitely joyful with a great team of volunteers cheering people on as they drove through to donate food and money. It was wonderful to see how our community came out to support those who need help with extra resources and pet food for animals,” said Ms. Gullö.
Most of the food is provided through Pet Resource Centers operated in conjunction with several animal and human welfare partners. These resource centers are located at Santa Barbara County Animal Services’ (SBCAS) shelters in Lompoc, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara as well as at People Helping People in Solvang, Good Samaritan Shelters, Unity Shoppe and the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.
“We are not a shelter; everything we do is to keep pets healthy in homes for life. We provide services to low income, seniors, disabled and the unsheltered. Thousands of pet families are struggling in the aftermath of COVID-19 to put food on the table and feed their pets,” said Ms. Gullö.
Some food is also provided during community events. For example, during weekly visits to Santa Barbara’s Alameda Park, volunteers provide food for pets of the unsheltered along with blankets and flea treatment. Once a month, C.A.R.E.4Paws brings A’s Mobile Grooming to the park to bathe dogs of the unhoused for free, a service also provided monthly in Santa Maria with Doggie Parlour.
“We could not be more grateful for the community’s support for this event and C.A.R.E.4Paws’ programs. Together, we are preventing suffering and pet homelessness and keeping animals with the people who love them,” said Ms. Gullö.
In addition to Saturday’s donation drive, pet food and monetary donations can be dropped off year-round, countywide with several of C.A.R.E.4Paws’ business and animal welfare partners, including Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Clubs, ASAP (Animal Shelter Assistance Program) in Goleta, Montecito Pet Shop, La Cumbre Feed, Advanced Veterinary Specialists, Plaza Deli, George’s Pet Shop, SYVHS/DAWG in Santa Ynez, and at the Pet Resource Centers at Barbara County Animal Services’ three shelters.
All locations are listed at www.care4paws.org/drive. Supporters can also donate funds and contribute food through C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Amazon Wish List available at https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2TWE4150GPL1X?&sort=default.