'The last thing they want to do is surrender their pets': Food drive supports Calgary veterans, and their animals
Many Calgary veterans rely heavily on the Veterans Association Food Bank to feed not only themselves, but the animals they hold dear to their hearts.
As Remembrance Day approaches, a pet food drive is being planned to ensure veterans in need can keep their pets, and keep them fed.
"The economy is so bad right now and everyone's struggling," said Chris Malmberg of MOMMS Premium Pet Foods, which is organizing the drive.
"It ... gives them peace of mind for their PTSD or whatever demons they're fighting. The last thing they want to do is surrender their pets because they can't feed them."
Since 2020, MOMMS Premium Pet Foods has spearheaded pet food drives that resulted in nearly 4,000 kilograms of food for both the Calgary Food Bank and the Veterans Association Food Bank.
The company hopes to match that with its latest effort.
"The pet community is very loyal," Malmberg said.
"When you mix veterans and pets together, Calgary comes together, and all they want to do is help."
Anipet Animal Supplies has already committed to donating almost 2,000 kilograms of pet food.
"We tend to have a lot of slightly damaged items that you can't resell," said Thomas Gronberg of Anipet Animal Supplies.
"So we use that as an opportunity to give back to the community and to dogs in need."
VETERANS' PETS PROVIDE COMPANIONSHIP & THERAPY
Veteran Wendy Feagan says the help is much appreciated, especially by vets who struggle to afford the basics for their animals.
"There are veterans out there that can't afford to look after their dogs, to go to the vet, to have them groomed or fed," she said.
Feagan's three-year-old dog, Faith, is a loyal, therapeutic companion.
"She keeps me in the present, which is something that we all need," she said.
"Many of us live in the past or we're worried about the future, so animals, the way they think and act, are always in the present, and that helps us, helps me a lot."
Feagan also says monetary donations are very important to the Veterans Association Food Bank's pet assistance efforts.
The money helps the organization pay for things such as pet wellness checks, vet bills and grooming, through its Pet Care Promise program.
INFLATION CREATES A CHALLENGE
The high rate of inflation has added an extra challenge to the pet food drive, and to vets struggling to get by.
"We get price increase after price increase after price increase," Malmberg said.
"It's out of our control. The manufacturers, they tell us what we sell their product at and we have no choice."
Malmberg says some products have gone up in price by 40 per cent in the last six months.
And he says supply chain issues mean only 70 per cent of an order may come in.
PET FOOD DRIVE DETAILS
The food drive takes place at MOMMS Premium Pet Foods, at 755 Lake Bonavista Dr. S.E., on Saturday Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Newly purchased bags of pet food, open bags that are properly sealed and cash donations will be accepted.
Organizers will also accept dishes, collars, harnesses and toys for pets.
Full details are available here.
HELP MUCH APPRECIATED
Feagan says veterans will appreciate the donations more than most people will know.
"Feeding the humans comes first, and that's hard enough for people nowadays," she said.
"So any anything we can do for the animals that support us, and that have supported veterans for hundreds of years, is very important."
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