The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals recently announced a partnership with the Animal Relief Fund (ARF), the first not-for-profit organization in the city to distribute donated pet food to local food banks. With the help of two New York State food banks, Long Island Cares, and Food Bank for New York City , ARF has fed hundreds of furry, four legged little New Yorkers. With the holiday season around the corner, the Mayor’s Alliance wants to bolster ARF’s success by asking New Yorkers to celebrate the season of giving by donating to the program during the holidays.
ARF was founded in November 2008 by Susan Kaufman, a New York lawyer and pet parent. Susan felt a need to respond to the crisis faced by many pet-owning New Yorkers who, because of the challenging economy, are having trouble providing food for their pets. “Food stamps don’t cover the costs of pet food,” says Kaufman, “so this program offers a solution for many families with pets.”
The food bank model program was launched as an experiment with the Yorkville Common Pantry (www.ycp.org) in Upper Manhattan, using generous pet food donations from “Calling All Pets,” a New York City pet food store. At first, a few families signed up to receive pet food, but within two months, the number of pets grew to 40, and two months later, more than doubled. Soon after, ARF started delivering pet food to the West Side Campaign Against Hunger (www.wscah.org) and Reaching Out Community Services (www.reachinout.org) in Bensonhurst. Today, ARF helps to supply pet food to hundreds of New York City pet owners, thereby succeeding in its goal to keep pets with their families, where they belong, and out of the shelters.
“We want to raise awareness within the community about the hardships faced by many New York City pet owners and their struggle to provide food and care for their cherished family pets,” explains Kaufman. “By working through the local pantry network of Food Bank for New York City and Long Island Cares, and by enlisting the support of individuals and businesses throughout New York City, we can expand the program to include additional food pantries in the city and the surrounding areas.”
How You Can Help:
Visit ARF’s website (www.arf-ny.org) and make an online donation to help purchase pet food. a. Donations may also be made by mail to ARF Inc., P.O. Box 1530, New York, NY 10028.
Donate dog or cat food to the program. To find out how, contact ARF by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to ARF Inc., P.O. Box 1530, New York, NY 10028.
If you volunteer at a local food bank, please inquire about setting up a pet food program at your location.
A wide range of services are available to New York City pet owners in need of low-cost pet care options. For information about many of these services, visit the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals website at http://www.animalalliancenyc.org./services/help.htm. Here you’ll find information about Financial Assistance and Low-Cost options for Veterinary Care, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Programs & Clinics, Low-Cost Microchipping, Food banks that provide Pet Food, and how to access Low-Cost Temporary Pet Boarding & Foster Care.