Toronto’s largest pet food bank, which has just received a massive 35,000-pound donation, says some of the city’s most vulnerable people are faced with very tough choices when it comes to their pets.
“The homeless and street-involved clients we serve often go without food themselves to ensure they can afford to feed their beloved pets,” Teresa Vasilopoulos, executive director of the WoodGreen Foundation, said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the organization was presented with a donation from PetSmart equivalent to 170,000 meals for the animals through the company’s Buy a Bag, Give a Meal initiative.
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Vasilopoulous explained on the Morning Show on AM640 that pets can play an added companionship role in the lives of those experiencing homelessness or grappling with precarious housing.
“The uptake for our clients is that it really allows them to keep that companion and keep sort of feeling a little bit of comfort in their lives,” she said of the food bank. “And so they’re really happy to have the opportunity to access pet food at the same time they’re accessing food from the food bank.”
LISTEN: Teresa Vasilopoulous joins the Morning Show on AM640
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The pet food bank, an offshoot of the charity’s food bank, was launched in 2014. The agency serves about 37,000 people in Toronto each year through a variety of programs aimed at reaching the homeless, seniors, newcomers, persons with disabilities and more.
Other local organizations, including the Toronto Humane Society and Hamilton-Burlington SPCA, are among those also receiving food donations from PetSmart.
The pet supply store chain says it will donate a pet meal for every bag of dog or cat food purchased in-store or online until Dec. 31. The company says more than 2.2-million meals have been donated to food banks and animal welfare agencies across the country since last year.