By Martie Thompson
Pets in need in St. Johns and Duval counties were the beneficiaries of a summer pet supply drive sponsored by the Florida NewsLine family of community newspapers: The CreekLine, Ponte Vedra NewsLine, Mandarin NewsLine and Southside NewsLine. Local businesses were requested to serve as donation points earlier this summer and the drive was held for the month of June. The community responded very generously and all donations of food and supplies were given to First Coast No More Homeless Pets.
Donation sites were scattered throughout St. Johns County and Jacksonville. A total of 25 businesses answered the call to serve as collection sites.
These civic-minded businesses allocated space for the special donation boxes for the month and urged their customers to contribute. Some, such as pediatrician Dr. Catherine Hartley at Baptist Primary Care in Mandarin, even offered incentives to encourage donations. She made wreaths and raffled them off to those who brought in a bag of cat or dog food.
J.McLaughlin in Ponte Vedra Beach held a Sip and Shop with your dog event and donated a portion of the proceeds from sales. Angie Cleary, manager, was pleased to donate $481 to First Coast No More Homeless Pets.
Lantz Herman of Pro-Tech Automotive, which also hosted a donation box, summed it up when he said, “People love giving for pets because pets can’t provide for themselves.”
Requested items for the donation drive included cat and dog food, kitty litter, cleaning supplies, blankets and towels and chew toys. The most popular item donated was dry pet food — more than 1,000 pounds, which included 725 pounds of dog food and 280 pounds of cat food. Multiple cases of canned pet food and moist cat food were also received as well as treats, bowls, leashes, pet beds and 185 pounds of kitty litter. All the items were brought to Florida NewsLine’s office to await pickup by First Coast No More Homeless Pets.
According to Pete Kimmel, marketing and events manager at First Coast No More Homeless Pets, the food received from this pet drive will be used to restock the Jacksonville Pet Food Bank, which is run completely by volunteers and operates out of the First Coast No More Homeless Pets Cassat Hospital. Since opening in 2010, the pet food bank has given away more than 1.4 million pounds of pet food to people who have trouble affording to feed their pets. The Pet Food Bank is open on a Saturday, approximately every six weeks.
“The goal is to keep pets in homes,” said Kimmel.
The Pet Food Bank provides a one-month supply of cat or dog food to households with up to four dogs and five cats. As a requirement, patrons of the Pet Food Bank must be income qualified and all animals must be spayed or neutered pets. Visit www.fcnmhp.org/help-pet-owners/pet-food-bank/ for more information.
“Pets give us so much, and when our local business partners like Florida NewsLine give back to pets in need — particularly collecting pet food to help keep pets in homes — it represents everything that is good about community,” said Kimmel.
First Coast No More Homeless Pets’ mission is to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters in northeast Florida, southeast Georgia and across the nation. They provide a multifaceted approach to pet overpopulation by combining free and low-cost spay/neuter, adoption initiatives and innovative pet retention services. They work with local animal welfare groups and the community to reach those who need help keeping and caring for their pet. Visit www.fcnmhp.org/ for more information.
Photo by Martie Thompson
Donations from the Florida NewsLine pet drive filled the First Coast No More Homeless Pets truck.