When people think of animal shelters, most are likely to think of helping a furry friend find their forever home. However, how do these animals find themselves here in the first place? It was reported in 2010 that 25% of local pets found in nearby shelters were surrendered due to economic strain. Many people did not necessarily want to get rid of their pets, but were struggling financially to be able to keep them. Therefore, in 2010 Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry (FWPFP) was born.
In its first year, the nonprofit helped 477 owners care for over 2,000 pets by providing them with animal food at no-cost. By 2021, FWPFP was still fulfilling this need in our community and was able to support almost 5,000 owners in feeding their pets. To this day, this volunteer-run operation continues to distribute no-cost pet food to neighbors in need in order to keep pets with their families.
As this organization grows and continues to expand, exciting changes are taking place. FWPFP has decided to join Humane Fort Wayne. Humane Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry Coordinator Rochele Watson states the following about FWPFP, “We are so proud to have had steady growth every year with volunteers, security, support, and last year we served 100,000 pounds of dry food alone, in and around Allen County. We were on the cusp of hiring a full-time Director, because of the scale of our all-volunteer operation, so this transition really was organic and made the most sense, to secure continued growth of our service and care.”
Humane Fort Wayne is a leading force for animal welfare in northeastern Indiana. It is an organization that was created by merging the Allen County SPCA and H.O.P.E. for Animals to consolidate and strengthen efforts for the animal loving community. Allen County SPCA served as the only no-kill shelter in the county area. H.O.P.E for Animals was the region’s only low-cost clinic providing wellness services such as spaying or neutering for both pets and homeless animals. Now along with the merger of FWPFP, resources can be shared to provide animals in the area with the best care possible. ¨We have made the best connections with the most tremendous humans the Midwest could provide in animal welfare and because of those connections, our collaborative efforts help more pets stay at home every year¨, Watson explains. Within the next coming months, FWPFP and Humane Fort Wayne will come together to help provide safe and healthy homes for animals while furthering their mission to reduce the instances of euthanasia and advance the safety and well-being of pets and those that care for them.
So, what changes can we expect from this merger? Watson explains the transition, ¨Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry will now be in a position to offer traditional business hours, more opportunities for pet owners to receive food, daytime volunteer opportunities, delivery vehicles, and a direct link with the Humane Fort Wayne Clinic to offer some medical care in a timely fashion as opposed to medical referrals.¨ Although they plan to add distribution sites, the organization recognizes and appreciates the Waynedale community and sees this part of Allen County as home. Therefore, their main hub for distribution will remain in Waynedale.
If you have been or are interested in supporting the pantry financially, make sure to reach out to Humane Fort Wayne going forward. If you prefer to donate your time, there are a myriad of opportunities to volunteer such as helping with fundraising events, food distributions, and doggy day out pick up. However, you chose to support our furry friends, we hope you take some time to spread the word about this powerhouse triad to help others learn about the resources that are available for animals in our community.