On Monday, Alley Cat Allies kicked off an initiative in Florida that will not only feed cats and other animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, but also serve as a model for far beyond. We are expanding lifesaving resources for cats by ensuring food banks for people can also provide food for animal family members and community cats.

We’re supplying tens of thousands of pounds of cat and dog food to Feeding Florida, a statewide network of food banks that helps more than 2.8 million Floridians each year. Feeding Florida, part of the Feeding America national network, previously only provided food assistance to people. Now through a joint effort with Alley Cat Allies, all of Feeding Florida’s 12 member food banks and thousands of pantries will serve animals, too.

This critical support is needed to keep families together in this time of unprecedented difficulty.

“Cats and other animals are an important part of the family, and especially during a crisis, it’s critical to keep families together,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “By providing the food these families need, we can prevent animals from being relinquished to animal shelters.”

Hundreds of thousands of Florida residents have filed for unemployment because of closures due to COVID-19, which has surpassed 20,000 confirmed cases in the state. With financial strain skyrocketing, there is a major risk that many people will feel unable to care for their feline family members.

Alley Cat Allies’ team up with Feeding Florida will provide assistance, so families don’t feel pressured to give up the animals they love.

On the afternoon of April 13, the first truckload of animal food, all funded by Alley Cat Allies, dropped off its cargo at Feeding South Florida, one of the Feeding Florida member food banks. Each bag of food will soon be in the hands of those who desperately need it for the animals in their care. The kickoff is the first of many that we’ll hold in cities across Florida.

To illustrate the rapidly growing need, Feeding South Florida said it has seen a 600 percent increase in people asking for food assistance since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Now with the donations from Alley Cat Allies, Feeding South Florida—and all Feeding Florida food banks and pantries—can help people keep meals on the table and in their animals’ food bowls.

“We are excited to partner with Alley Cat Allies, especially during this time when the loss of daily routines as we once knew them has put a significant amount of anxiety and stress on individuals,” said Robin Safley, executive director of Feeding Florida. “[Animals] serve as companions to people and provide a degree of normalcy to their lives. This partnership will allow our network to not only provide food to individuals in need, but also to feed their [animals].”

With this large-scale, statewide initiative, Alley Cat Allies aims to set an important precedent across the nation: food for animals should be provided in all food banks for people, and not only in times of crisis.

If you are in Florida, our animal food will be available to you at no cost to help you keep your family together. We will update you as our supplies reach all Feeding Florida food banks, so keep watching alleycat.org/Coronavirus.

To get food from Feeding South Florida, visit its main warehouse:

Feeding South Florida
2501 SW 32nd Terrace
Pembroke Park, 33023

For more information about Feeding Florida, or to find a Feeding Florida food bank near you, visit www.feedingflorida.org.

To find our growing state-by-state list of free animal food banks across the U.S., visit alleycat.org/FoodBanks.