With today's challenging economic climate, one in eight Americans are taking advantage of food bank programs around the country - and many of those people have pets they consider part of their family. But when food banks don't offer pet food and litter, or human food portions become too stretched, many families are forced to make the heartbreaking decision to relinquish their four-legged family members.
To combat this issue, the PETCO Foundation, in conjunction with PETCO, is building a nationwide network of pet food banks by placing pet food collection bins in PETCO stores across the country. In partnership with local food banks, all food donated to the PETCO Foundation Pet Food Bank program will be distributed to local pet parents struggling to feed their pets.
"Today, more than ever, pets are part of the family; and we don't believe anyone should have to go through the pain of giving them up because of financial distress," said Paul Jolly, the PETCO Foundation's Executive Director. "With PETCO stores across the country visited every day by people who love and care for pets, we saw a huge opportunity to help prevent people from having to make such a heart-wrenching choice."
The pet food bank bins will be clearly marked and designated for pet food donations and serve as a collection point for customers to drop off food or cat litter donations brought from home or purchased during their shopping trip. Each PETCO store will partner with an existing food bank that has a pet food component, or with an animal welfare group that has set up its own pet food bank, to donate the food directly to economically stressed pet parents in that store's local community.
The rollout of the bins will take place in three phases, beginning this week with more than 250 PETCO stores in select markets. Stores in San Diego, Chicago, Orlando and New York City are ready to start collecting today. The second and third phases of the rollout will continue throughout the spring.
The program is an extension of the Foundation's existing "We Are Family, Too" fund, which already provides seed funding for animal welfare programs to help pet parents who are in financial crisis, including food banks, product donations, referral lists of pet friendly housing, short term foster care and veterinarian services. While the Foundation also has programs in place to help feed pets in shelters, this program is specifically designed to support local food banks and families in financial crisis.
To learn more about the PETCO Foundation and how you too can make a difference, visit www.petcofoundation.org. To learn more about PETCO or to find a location near you, visit www.petco.com. For the latest news on anything and everything PETCO - from updates about the company to incredible acts of animal kindness - visit the company's blog at www.petcoscoop.com.
PETCO is a privately held specialty retailer that provides products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. We operate more than 1,000 stores in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a leading pet products and information destination at www.petco.com. Our nonprofit organization, The PETCO Foundation, has raised more than $60 million since its inception in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support about 6,200 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 200,000 adoptable animals every year.
Contact: Lisa Epstein, PETCO, 858-453-7845 x2558,
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CONTACT: Lisa Epstein of PETCO, +1-858-453-7845, ext. 2558,
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