Alley Cat Allies’ COVID-19 emergency funding is helping even the youngest animal organizations become the pillars of strength their communities need in a time of crisis. Fixin The Coast, based in Harrison County, Mississippi, is one such group. It will be only a year old as of July 7, yet has stepped up as a primary provider of food and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for cats in its area with support from Alley Cat Allies.
Fixin The Coast is the only TNR-focused nonprofit animal organization in Harrison County. As a result, it is connected with many community cat caregivers—and knows just how hard the COVID-19 crisis hit them.
To support these caregivers—and any cat in need—Alley Cat Allies provided an emergency grant to Fixin The Coast to pay for cat food and supplies for the community.
“The level of need here has risen significantly because of COVID-19 and its financial impact,” says Cindy Arceneaux, founder and director of Fixin The Coast. “Alley Cat Allies’ grant has been incredible in helping feed cats who likely would not have gotten cat food otherwise.”
Fixin The Coast did not have a animal food bank or pantry, and supplying food was never something the young group had done. But the team knew it was necessary to switch gears to fill the most pressing needs for Mississippi cats during the pandemic.
The Alley Cat Allies grant made it possible.
“Some people have tears of joy when we bring cat food,” Arceneaux says. To minimize contact, Fixin The Coast distributes this food through home deliveries or curbside drop-offs. “And we don’t just bring the food, we also take that opportunity to loan traps out, refer them to particular veterinarians, or sign them up for our TNR program. Anything we can do to continue helping cats.”
Here are just some of the inspiring stories Fixin The Coast has shared with us:
Tigerlilly, Bruno, Cry Baby, and More
These are among the 10 cats caregiver Courtney regularly feeds in her neighborhood. She has also spayed and neutered them through a TNR program. However, the COVID-19 crisis created unprecedented challenges to continuing that care.
“I am working reduced hours since the COVID-19 crisis began, and I struggle to feed the cats even under normal circumstances,” Courtney explains.
When she received several bags of food through Alley Cat Allies’ grant to Fixin The Coast, the word Courtney used to describe her feelings was “elated.”
“I love these babies, and knowing they can eat without any reduction in food is a big load off my mind,” Courtney says. “Thank you, Alley Cat Allies…we will be just fine now.”
Snoop, Buzz, Little G, Gizmo, and their Feline Family
Every day, caregiver Jennifer S. feeds these cats—and around 20 community cats in total in her area. With the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, though, Jennifer can only buy so much cat food each month. These beloved cats needed extra support, and Alley Cat Allies’ grant to Fixin The Coast was there to provide it.
“I am unemployed, so the cat food donation is obviously a huge help to keep the cats fed,” Jennifer says. She has received several bags of cat food paid for by our grant, which is a relief for her and a lifeline for the cats.
Little Boy, Lucky, and Orangey
Named by the son of Deidre, their caregiver, these community cats live with around 20 other feline family members in Deidre’s neighborhood. But as the COVID-19 pandemic swept into her community, Deidre lost two important things: her job and her truck. Not only was buying cat food more difficult than ever, she also had no way to drive to the store to pick it up.
That’s where Alley Cat Allies’ grant to Fixin The Coast came in.
“Thank you so much Alley Cat Allies and Fixin The Coast for helping me out with some cat food for the colony I feed. We needed it so much,” Deidre said. “Fixin The Coast has also already started spaying and neutering a couple cats in the colony.”
Deidre had cat food, paid for by our grant, delivered to her so she can continue to ensure Little Boy, Lucky, Orangey and all the cats she cares for stay fed through the crisis. Soon, Fixin The Coast plans to carry out TNR for them all.
A Family of 14 Cats Fed
Little Bit, Mama, Cali, Grey Kitty—these are members of a 14-cat family in a mobile home park whose food bowls are filled every day because of Alley Cat Allies’ grant to Fixin The Coast.
The cats’ caregiver, Janell, is committed to providing the best possible care. She was even starting to carry out TNR with help from Fixin The Coast. Then COVID-19 threw a wrench into her plans as veterinary clinics closed. She needed cat food to keep her cats fed until she could resume her TNR efforts.
We came through for her.
“Alley Cat Allies and Fixin The Coast have helped make a difference in 14 little furry lives,” Janell says. “I can never say thank you enough.”
Looking to the Future
With Alley Cat Allies’ grant providing critical animal food bank support, Fixin The Coast has been able to feed hundreds of cats and kittens and help caregivers make it through this challenging time.
As Mississippi starts to reopen, Fixin The Coast is figuring out how it can shape its services to best meet its community’s ongoing needs. Alley Cat Allies’ grant is an important support system as the group looks ahead.
“This grant has been wonderful as we reassess the situation and our needs,” says Arceneaux. “We want to build on this positive relationship with the community that we’ve been able to develop.”
To learn more about Alley Cat Allies’ emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit alleycat.org/Coronavirus.