Alley Cat Allies’ groundbreaking COVID-19 relief collaborations with Florida food banks are filling cats’ food bowls across the state. In the past month, we’ve donated even more animal food and cat litter—and we are Keeping Families TogetherTM.
“By providing food for cats and other animals, we are helping to ensure that they will not be relinquished to animal shelters. Cats who live indoors can stay in their homes, and community cats can continue to be fed by good Samaritans,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies.
Alley Cat Allies coordinated with state and local organizations, including Second Harvest of the Big Bend a Feeding Florida member food bank, to distribute the food to food pantries and aid organizations in the Tallahassee, Florida area, including two public distribution events in May. People in need drove up, popped their trunk, and received supplies that will save cats’ lives.
“I love my cats and my dogs. I treat them as if they’re my kids,” Brenda E., an attendee, explained through the open window of her car, mask securely in place over her mouth. “They’re my family. I’m not going to let my cats go hungry.”
Now she, and thousands of others, won’t have to.
Innovative New Model for Animal Food Delivery
Most food banks focus on distributing food for people. However, after COVID-19 hit, Alley Cat Allies began working with state and local organizations to use the infrastructure already in place at these food
banks to help efficiently deliver supplies for animals.
Help is needed now more than ever to provide help with food for cats who live with human families indoors and community cats outdoors. “This newly forged partnership with Alley Cat Allies has really helped us to also serve an entirely new demographic in our community: the [animals] who live in the households of the families we care so deeply about,” says Monique R. Ellsworth, CEO of Second Harvest.
At our public food distributions, people could drive up to receive fresh and shelf-stable food for themselves as well as food and litter for the cats and dogs they care for.
The supplies were loaded into trunks and backseats by masked and gloved volunteers who avoided contact and observed social distancing.
“It’s very convenient to be able to get the cat food and the people food all at one time,” said Bill M., who drove to the distribution with his wife. He had his car loaded up with food for his three cats. Two are fluffy, he told us eagerly, and one not so much. “So, really, thank you to Alley Cat Allies.”
Joan S., who arrived to receive food for her dog and six-month-old rescue cat, agreed.
“If it wasn’t for the community pulling together, we couldn’t survive. And I just bless each and every one of you for helping us and our animals. It means a lot to us,” she said.
A Kick-Off in Collier County
The success of our Keeping Families Together work with Feeding Florida inspired Collier County Emergency Services to reach out to Alley Cat Allies. Animal food is in high demand in Collier County because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier in May, Alley Cat Allies’ first donation of cat and dog food and cat litter rolled into East Naples Community Park.
“We are grateful for our new friends at Alley Cat Allies and know how happy this food makes people by providing food security for their four-legged loved ones,” says Lauren Bonica, Human Services Coordinator at Collier County Emergency Management. “You have no idea how much I appreciate it,” one attendee said as a volunteer handed her a bag of cat food through the window of her car. “And my baby appreciates it,” she added, thinking of her cat.
In for the Long Haul
Alley Cat Allies is committed to Keeping Families Together for the weeks and months of this crisis to come.
For those most in need in this difficult time, that support means everything.
To find a state-by-state list of cat food banks pantries, including Feeding Florida food banks and Collier County Emergency Services, visit alleycat.org/FoodBanks.
Learn more about Alley Cat Allies’ COVID-19 emergency response at alleycat.org/Coronavirus.