2017 Round 4 Top 3 Finalist

Pets Of The Homeless Pet Food Bank

Providing pet food to people with an honest need, who are temporarily unable to feed their own pets

Pets of the Homeless provide food for those in the community with an honest need who are temporarily unable to feed their own pets.

The sad reality for many Australians who are doing it tough, paying the bills and putting food on the table for themselves is a constant struggle. Many people at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness reluctantly surrender or rehome their pets because they believe there is simply no other option. Our mission is to keep people and their pets together through difficult times.

Pets of the Homeless provide regular pet food assistance to 10 community partners across metropolitan Melbourne. Our dream is to rent a warehouse space in Melbourne in which to establish Victoria’s first ever pet food bank in order to provide nutritious pet food to anyone with an honest need when they are temporarily unable to keep their own pets fed or when the burden of doing so would put their own health and wellbeing at risk.

For someone without a permanent home, their dog or cat may be all the family they have. Pets play such an important role in our lives — the human-animal bond is powerful and profound. It’s well established that pet owners enjoy a host of social, psychological, and physical benefits from their companion animals, but the bond between people and pets facing homelessness together is an entirely different beast.

With homeless populations at significantly greater risk of anxiety, depression, and social isolation, a Canadian study led by Michelle Lem has found companion animals ease loneliness, promote better overall health and reduce rates of depression. It is incredibly common for people facing homelessness to willingly go hungry just so their animals can eat.

Establishing the Pets of the Homeless Pet Food Bank will not only feed pets and safeguard their health and wellbeing, it will also ensure their owners have more food for themselves, plus a few dollars remaining to pay for some of life’s necessities. For those who can’t afford to keep their pets fed, the consequences are greater than just an empty stomach. Many pets will be surrendered to an already overburdened shelter system and finding new homes for these pets are never guaranteed.

The grant money will help fund the initial establishment cost of $40,000 (rent and fit out) after which our other income streams would help sustain it. We have been actively fundraising and planning for this dream for the past 12 months and the Sunsuper Dreams for a Better World grants will help our dream become a reality. 

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