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Food Stamps

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Individuals who are struggling to buy food and necessary supplies for their pets may now have a new option to consider. A new non-profit company in New York is providing the idea of ‘pet food stamps’. The company started around two weeks ago and over thousands of people have already joined and logged into the website. Founded by Marc Okon, the company is based on the idea that pets are essentially like members of the family, and when a family is in need, it’s a good chance that the pets are also in need as well. More specifically, Okon mentions, “I intend to keep people from choosing from having to feed themselves or their pets or having to surrender their pets to a high kill shelter.”

The community food bank for the greater Pittsburgh area has noted that it receives a large amount of requests from people who need food for their pets – however, until now, they’ve had to refer pet owners to the humane society for assistance with these matters. Executive director of the humane society, David Janusek, says “We have Ellie’s pantry for individuals who have fallen on hard times just to get them through the next month,” and notes that pet food stamps is a resource that the humane society would ideally use to help with improving their efforts.

Another organization, known as Animal Friends, has a program known as the “chow wagon”. It provides pet foods to more than two dozen food pantries within the area. Animal Friends has already mentioned that they would be interested in using pet food stamps as well. In order to apply for the pet food stamps program, you have to be able to provide that you are already receiving some form of assistance from the state. If you are approved, you will get a monthly shipment from a national retailer, known as Pet Food Direct. Cynthia Moore from the greater Pittsburgh community food bank notes that the need is great, adding “ just as you would imagine that people are struggling to pay utilities, transportation… people have pets and they are just like part of the family. Naturally, this is another concern for the household.”

As there are many low income families and families in poverty who also have pets within their households, it’s expected that the pet food stamps program is only going to continue to grow in popularity among the public. Many are saying that this new company is calling attention to an issue that has been a concern for many low income pet owners for the past few decades – some of which have previously had to give up their beloved pets to shelters or to other homes where someone would be able to provide a consistent amount of food and attention to the needy animals. The hope is that the new pet food stamp program will help owners through tougher times and keep pets in loving homes rather than filling shelters, which causes more financial issue than the food stamp pet program itself.

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