Eight Saskatchewan food banks based mainly in rural areas have signed on to establish emergency pet food banks.
The intention is to keep pets with their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Josh Hourie, community relations co-ordinator at the Saskatchewan SPCA, said people shouldn’t have to decide between feeding themselves or their pets if they find themselves with financial problems.
The issue arose along with the pandemic in spring.
“At that particular time a lot of people were still doing OK in small towns,” he said.
But now food banks are anticipating use will climb, and the SSPCA doesn’t want people having to surrender pets because they can’t feed them.
All 32 food banks in the province were asked if they wanted to participate in the Emergency Pet Food Bank.
The eight signed on so far are Carlyle and District, Fort Qu’Appelle, Maple Creek, Melville and District, Moosomin Food Share, Nipawin Salvation Army, Rosthern Good Neighbours Food Centre, and Swift Current Salvation Army.
“Our suspicions are that as we continue to move onward we might see more sign up,” he said.
People can contribute by sending money to the SSPCA program.
This is the first time the organization has initiated a program like this and Hourie said data will be gathered to determine how much it is needed.
Some food banks do get donations of pet food that they distribute on their own but that isn’t always a constant supply. This program would make the supply more consistent.
People can donate online at www.SaskSPCA.ca/food.