Vernon's Animal Food Bank is asking residents to donate pet supplies for evacuees and displaced pets after many were affected by flooding across B.C.
“The floods are worse than the fires because our supply has been cut off, as has much of the supply for our pet stores, which means we can no longer just buy what we need, assuming we even had the money to do so,” says founder Nicole Frey.
“As well, we were dealing with the complete evacuation of Merritt into Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops. The perfect storm.”
Frey says the food bank's supply is already low as it typically sees demand double during November and December.
“So, we had lack of available inventory in our bin, lack of supply due to highway closures, and immediate need to accomodate pets of evacuees from Merritt, as well as Lytton, Logan Lake and Cache Creek, supplies low and running out due to road closures,” says Frey.
The food bank is in need of wet and dry cat and dog food, bird food, rodent food, crates, leashes, collars, toys, and treats. They also take online donations through paypal or e-transfer.
The Animal Food Bank is also looking for volunteer drivers, both for evacuee supplies and for regular deliveries in Vernon. Those interested can join its Facebook group.
“We are hearing stories from evacuees coming out now who don't have pet food or supplies. Normally, we would draw on our Vernon AFB inventory to send supplies to Kamloops to help, but those supplies went to Kelowna and Penticton already. We had sent a pallet of food to Kamloops last week, but it was used up very quickly,” says Frey.
They moved 4,000 pounds of food last week and have another 4,500 pounds coming from Alberta, most of which is already spoken for.
The food bank is pushing for a formalized government plan for animals during natural disasters.
“There isn't one, and that is why organizations like ours are so important – without us there would be no help,” says Frey.
The petition can be found here.