Dogs have their day at the San Antonio Food Bank giveaway

Hundreds of San Antonio animal lovers collected bags of pet food from the San Antonio Food Bank during the non-profit organization’s first-ever pet food distribution to families in low income having pets.

Residents lined up in their vehicles around the block Thursday morning at the main food bank campus on the West Side. In all, food bank volunteers distributed 15 trucks full of dry pet food donated by PetSmart Charities, enough for 500 families.

The first 200 households to show up also received pet beds donated by TJ Maxx.

The food bank hosted the event in partnership with DaisyCares, a non-profit organization that promotes animal welfare and provides assistance with food and veterinary care for pets.

“Our pets came in second throughout the pandemic. First it was about feeding the family, then our pets, ”said Teresa Gutierrez, a resident of San Antonio.

“It’s going to help us financially a bit,” she said of the giveaway.

A woman waits as volunteers load her vehicle with some of the food donated by PetSmart Charities for distribution by the San Antonio Food Bank on Thursday, July 8, 2021.

Billy Calzada, Staff / Personal Photographer

The cars were lined up back to back in four lines. As the vehicles approached the distribution point, they merged into two lines and the volunteers piled heavy loads of pet food into the trunks. When the pile of bags decreased, a forklift driver brought more.

“Pet food is expensive,” said Sonia Gonzales, a San Antonio resident who attended the distribution with her mother, who is disabled. “It will help a lot, especially (his mother).”

Although the food bank stocks pet food, Thursday’s distribution was its first ever focused on low-income families with pets. The distribution provided two bags of food for each cat or dog and one bed per animal while supplies last.

Residents also received regular food donations as part of their visit.

“The unique part today is that all of our distributions were really family service oriented and we would add pet food,” said Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the bank. food.

At Thursday’s event, “we are only focusing on pets,” he said.

Cooper said that while pets have brought mental relief to families during the pandemic, financial difficulties could cause pet owners to consider donating the animals.

“For us, being able to provide some relief through pet food keeps this family intact,” Cooper said.

Mae Benavides, a San Antonio resident who owns seven cats and two dogs, said she was happy to see the food bank include pet food in the distribution.

Benavides said she had not been able to obtain pet food in previous distributions, “so we had to use the protein we got for ourselves and we had to boil it for our animals.” .

Cooper said the food bank hopes to continue providing pet food during its regular distributions. Last year, the association distributed food to 80,000 pets, he said.

“Many of us who have pets and are financially capable – we buy our pet food along with our staff food in places like HEB, and so when we give to families, create that same one stop shop. is very important, ”Cooper said.

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