There are 3.5 million homeless Americans. Between 5 and 10 percent of homeless people have dogs and/or cats. In some areas of the country, the rate is as high as 24 percent. During the holiday season, cold winter weather and loss of hope during a time of giving pose additional hardships for the homeless population. And the pets living on the street with them will need extra calories from food during the winter months to keep warm.
Homelessness continues to be a national issue. In 2006, Genevieve Frederick founded Pets of the Homeless, a volunteer-based organization that offers animals the food their owners cannot provide. The organization garnered nonprofit status in 2008.
Pets of the Homeless’ mission is simple—to feed and provide basic veterinary care to pets of homeless people in the United States and Canada.
Pets of the Homeless is busy promoting to veterinarians and pet-related businesses the importance of joining the organization as a donation site and campaigning to food distributing organizations the importance of providing pet food to the less fortunate.
Since 2008, donations have surpassed 442 tons of pet food delivered to food banks via the network of donation sites across the country.
To reach its goal in 2016, Pets of the Homeless will need another 24,000 pounds of pet food donated and $43,000 raised nationally. They are actively seeking donations to assist homeless people and their pets.
“Eighty-seven cents out of every dollar donated goes directly to our free programs,” Frederick said. “For homeless people with pets, many are forced to choose between their pet or a roof over their head. These pets are non-judgmental and provide love, comfort and an emotional bond of loyalty. In some cases, they provide the homeless with protection and also keep them warm. During the holidays, giving human food to local food banks is great, but remember that Fido and Kitty need assistance, too.”
In 2016, to-date, 384 pets have been treated for an illness or injury at a cost of over $78,000 to hospitals across the country. Pets of the Homeless’ emergency veterinary care program is the most costly, yet is offered free to homeless guardians of pets. In total, Pets of the Homeless has provided more than $418,000 in veterinary care to more than 14,000 pets of the people they serve.
There are more than 434 donation sites nationwide. To donate to Pets of the Homeless, visit the organization’s website.