RSPCA Animal rescue Officer (ARO) Heather Wade is coordinating the effort across South Tyneside and Newcastle to ensure that owners who are struggling with the costs of feeding their pet can get access to pet food.
The project began in Lancashire during lockdown as a response to the number of people the charity was seeing who were facing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic. Deputy Chief Inspector Alison Fletcher, who works in Lancashire, decided to link-up with food banks in the area to provide them with pet food for owners who were struggling to make ends meet. Starting with five areas across Lancashire, the scheme has now been rolled out across 35 different food banks across Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Northumbria and four in Greater Manchester.
Heather said: “We’ve seen pets become a real source of comfort to people during the pandemic and it’s fantastic to see those strong bonds between owners and their animals. However, the pandemic has put a strain on people’s finances and we’re seeing a lot of people experience tough times at the moment. The last thing we want is for a loving owner to have to give up their companion and so we set up the scheme in the hope that we could provide as much pet food as possible and keep families and their pets together.”
Now the RSPCA is asking for donations of pet food to help the project. Generous members of the public can donate pet food at the following drop-off points (please specify it is for the food bank project when donating):
RSPCA Felledge Animal Centre, Waldridge Lane, DH2 3BF
RSPCA Newcastle and North Northumberland Branch Shop, 200 Shields Road, Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE6 1DU
RSPCA Newcastle and North Northumberland Branch Shop, 186 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, NE26 2TA
Heather added: “We have so far linked up with four food banks across Newcastle and Northumberland which means anyone who is struggling can not only get human food but can now get pet food for their furry friends too. We’re so pleased to be able to help in this way and are so grateful for any donations we receive to help this project.”
The food banks who have signed up to the project are:
– Key 2 Life Food Bank (South Shields)
– Washington Community Food Project
– Walker and District Food Bank
– Newcastle West End Food Bank
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit their website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.