Paws At Home Sooke Pet Food Bank, a new local initiative, has partnered with the Sooke Food Bank to make sure residents’ pets have enough to food in their belly. (Contributed)

Furry-baby food bank launches in Sooke

Paws At Home initiative ensures full bellies for local pets in need

No pet should ever have to go hungry – and one Sooke initiative is making sure that doesn’t happen.

Paws At Home Sooke Pet Food Bank, a new local initiative, has partnered with the Sooke Food Bank to make sure residents’ pets have enough to food in their belly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Paws At Home naturally blossomed, as everyone involved was already giving to the community. Before setting up the pet food bank, we had been donating food to the community, but we know working alongside the Sooke Food Bank is the most effective way to get food to our loving pet companions within our community,” said Ashley Belcher, owner of Bosley’s by Pet Value Sooke.

The T’Souke Nation is also lending out a space to store the food, and various people and organizations in the community have made donations.

“Myself, staff members of Bosley’s, Lyn from Collar & Comb, and Salish Paws are all volunteering their time outside of our daily operations,” Belcher said.

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The group handed out pet food on April 16 outside the Sooke Community Hall. It will set up again in the same spot on May 7 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. So far, its helped 30 families feed their pets.

“We heard that the need was strong for pet food, and there has been so much demand on the food bank right now, so a few of us got together and decided to come up with this new process,” Belcher said.

”We love our pets, and many people might be having a hard time affording pet food right now. A pet is another member of the family, so we want to make sure they are taken care of.”

Paws At Home is also offering no-contact delivery until the end of May. Those wishing for a delivery must put their request in by noon Thursday to be included in the delivery on Friday afternoons. Food options for both cats and dogs are available.

“We will try when possible to accommodate special requirements, but are limited to what we have so if your pet has allergies or a medical condition that requires a special diet please let us know as we may not have access to those formulas. We will try to offer you an alternative wherever possible,” Paws At Home posted to Facebook.

Requests can be made by calling Bosley’s or by contacting Paws At Home on Facebook. Donations can be dropped off at Bosley’s, Wiskers and Waggs, or the Sooke Food Bank.

“This initiative is growing fast. Every day it seems like something new and exciting is happening, and many people have come together,” Belcher said.

“I see this as a chance to build relationships and support each other. The best thing coming out of COVID-19 is family and community coming together.”

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