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Program through 211 delivers pet food to people in need

Posted at 12:25 PM, Apr 28, 2021

The financial challenges people are feeling are impacting their pets. 211 call centers are seeing up to five times the amount of their normal calls.

Food, including pet food, is among the top concerns people are calling about.

Groups like the United Way are delivering food from food banks to help.

Pets Eat Too is new program the United Way is doing with 211, Doordash and PetSmart charities.

It's being tested in the following cities: Eugene, Oregon, Santa Cruz, California, San Joaquin, California, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

They hope it will launch in more places across the country.

“We were seeing some initial stories from folks, people who were not buying their foods so that they can cover the food of their pets or even an instance where a person was considering eating pet food, because they didn’t have food on the table at home,” said Hilary Palotay, Director of 211 National Initiatives at the United Way.

Even if this program isn't in your area, you can still call 211 to get connected with a local pet food bank.

“I would start the conversation by saying I’m having a hard time doing X, I need help feeding my pet. I am looking for resources that can support me with paying my bills. Generally, starting with what you are thinking you might need some help with is a good place to start,” said Palotay.

The pet food program is part of a program delivering food for humans too. Ride United Last Mile Delivery is available in more cities. Over the last year, it’s done more than 300,000 deliveries, getting an estimated 4 million meals to homes.

211 is the best way to get connected to this service or get connected with other food assistance.