By Julia Williams
Now that The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has officially opened its doors in Portland, Oregon, it’s safe to say there will be a lot more wagging tails and smiling faces in this city. Portland’s first food bank for pets opened yesterday, November 8th, handing out CANIDAE dog food and FELIDAE cat food to anyone who needed it. Further, to commemorate this important occasion and honor CANIDAE for their part in making it happen, the mayor of Portland proclaimed November 8, 2009 as “CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods Day.” How cool is that?
What started as one man’s heartfelt desire to help the homeless feed their hungry animal companions, has become what could well be the largest pet food bank in the United States. Indeed – thanks in large part to the generous donation of $125,000 worth of pet food from CANIDAE, The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank is poised to hand out around eight tons of dog and cat food every month, says its founder Larry Chusid.
Larry had been providing pet food to animals living in Portland’s homeless, transitional and underprivileged communities since 2007. Through The Pongo Fund, a charity he formed and named after his beloved dog, Larry was helping not only animals, but the humans who loved them. Still, he always dreamed of doing more, and he never stopped thinking about how he could turn his dream into reality.
Fate stepped in and gave Larry a leg up last April, when he met some CANIDAE folks at a pet-product trade show. You see, CANIDAE has a long history of supporting charities that help people and their pets. They had been supporting The Pongo Fund with food donations, but when they heard about Larry’s vision for a pet food bank in Portland, CANIDAE immediately offered him $125,000 worth of food to get the ball rolling.
Now that Larry had been promised truckloads of premium-quality dog and cat food, he had work to do! He secured a nice facility for The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank to operate out of, and lined up volunteers, grants, and fundraisers. The end result is something that both Larry and CANIDAE can be very proud of. Because one man dared to dream, and a caring pet food company answered the call, Portland’s companion dogs and cats will have full tummies now.
Sadly, many communities in our great nation have no pet food bank to help them. Although most cities and even some small towns are fortunate to have food banks that provide groceries to the needy, most have little (if any) pet food to give out. People who receive food stamps cannot use them to buy pet food either.
With our economy still struggling, the need for more pet food banks grows larger every day. And it’s no longer just the homeless and low-income people who are affected. Jobless middle-class and white-collar workers, senior citizens and even college students are having trouble making ends meet nowadays.
Thank you CANIDAE, for helping The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank make sure that the residents of Portland are able to feed their cherished animal companions. Perhaps one day soon, every city in America can say the same. Until then, we can all dream, and do what we can to help.
If you’d like to help The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, their website is set up to receive cash donations through Paypal. If you live in the Portland area, you can volunteer at the pet food bank, and/or buy some CANIDAE dog food or FELIDAE cat food and drop it off during their business hours.
Photo: "Man and dogs" Courtesy Brian Foulkes © 1989
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