By: Cath Juliano | Sunrise Veterinary Group |West Islip, NY
Every day, I drive past Long Island Cares, a food pantry on Long Island, and realize how fortunate I am. Regularly, I recognize people from my neighborhood:
“That’s a guy I went to school with,” I think to myself.
I see clients from the animal hospital walk through the pantry’s doors in need of food. After seeing so many people I know affected by hunger, I knew I had to help somehow. I couldn’t fall asleep at night without seeing those faces in my head. These were my neighbors, childhood acquaintances, and even clients with pets. Quickly, I realized that if people were in such need of food for themselves, their pets must also be suffering. Then, I wondered how many pets were surrendered or abandoned because of their owners’ struggles to access affordable and nutritious pet food. Naturally I want to help.
Creating a VCA Charities Pet Food Pantry
With the assistance of Jannette Velazquez from East Islip Animal Hospital, Wendy Torres from Commack Animal Hospital, and Oriana Pitti from Nassau Suffolk Animal Hospital, we set out on a mission to make a difference. A mission to create a pet food pantry partnership with Long Island Cares. Learning of our mission, Brian Carroll and Bob Doran from Hills Pet Food joined our cause. Hills promised 1,000 lbs. of food to be delivered each quarter to the VCA Charities Pet Food Pantry.
Our mission came to fruition! It has now been two years from our first delivery, during which I had the pleasure of assisting a Vietnam Veteran. Coming from a military family, my heart soared. I want him to know how much his service is appreciated, so in addition to the pet food he received from the pantry, he also received VCA’s “free first exam certificate.” This veteran’s appreciation was overwhelming and is one of the most rewarding honors this pantry has bestowed upon us. The smiles on people’s faces make us want to do more. We are making a difference in our community. We are keeping families together.
As of today, we have donated over 6000 lbs. of Hills Pet Food to hundreds of families.
Our mantra is, “No family should be without their pet, and no pet should ever go hungry.”
My parting words to anyone who is blessed with never knowing homelessness, cold, hunger, or abandonment are “Show your appreciation: Donate to a pantry TODAY!”
How Can I Help?
Learn More: Learn about the VCA Charities Pet Food Pantry Program and view the current locations here.
If you would like to help, have questions, or suggestions on new Pet Food Pantry locations, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
VCA Charities is a 501c3 non-profit pet related charity established in September of 2005 following the devastating super storm Hurricane Katrina.
Mission: Adding good years to pets’ lives, through education, healthcare and community outreach.
VCA Charities program offers VCA hospitals the opportunity to demonstrate community leadership at the grassroots level by supporting the neediest pet owners and aligning VCA hospitals with other charitable community leaders. VCA Charities offers the opportunity to engage and motivate VCA employees and clients in a tremendous philanthropic outreach effort.