It’s the most wonderful time of the year and for many, the holiday season is about generosity – an annual reminder to spread joy by giving of ourselves to those most in need. It’s the perfect time to celebrate a program that gives all year round – HSSV’s Pet Pantry program.
An estimated 25 million pets are living in poverty in the U.S. alone.
When families experience hardship and cannot provide for their pet’s basic needs, they may choose to make the difficult choice to surrender their pets to shelters like ours. At HSSV, we believe that animals belong with the people who love them – which is why one of our three Strategic Priorities is Keeping Families Together. HSSV’s Pet Pantry provides underserved populations and those experiencing hardship with basic pet food and supplies so pets can remain well cared for with the families who love them, even during the hardest of times.
“For me, giving up my pups has NEVER been an option,” says one client. “A few times I have sacrificed eating my portion of dinner to make sure my family and pups have eaten dinner. Since finding out about HSSV’s Pet Pantry program, they have full tummies every day.”
HSSV’s Pet Pantry is a lifeline to struggling pet owners in our community – but not many are aware of the scale of these efforts. The Pet Pantry serves over 200 families and 400 pets each month. In addition to offering on-site pickup four times a week, HSSV distributes an additional 8,000 meals to pets in need through our human service partners each month.
Just last year, HSSV provided 46,000 pet meals monthly. That’s more than half a million meals distributed to pets in our community in one year!
This holiday season, we thought we would do something a little extra for our Pet Pantry clients, so we enlisted one of our newest volunteer partnerships to help spread holiday cheer.
Every Monday, a group of four adult students on the autism spectrum from AchieveKids Schools come to the shelter to work in pairs with one of their teachers to help with laundry, dishes and making enrichment toys for shelter animals. Recently, they helped assemble some holiday treat bags to be given out to families in need at one of our Pet Pantry distribution partner sites.
Not everybody can make it to the shelter, or to a distribution partner site – so in an effort to increase accessibility for our clients, Pet Pantry also delivered to 36 homebound seniors and unhoused families in the past year.
Jerry, a longtime volunteer, delivers pet food and essential supplies from HSSV to several Pet Pantry clients each month.
In addition to helping out HSSV, Jerry volunteers with other organizations that help unhoused members of our community.
Assembling gift bags and making home deliveries may seem like small efforts, but cumulatively everybody who contributes to the Pet Pantry is making a world of a difference when it comes to improving the daily well-being of pets and people in our community.
It takes a village for a program like Pet Pantry to make an impact.
Generous people like you donate food and pet supplies to keep the Pantry fully stocked, and our Community Programs team works hard to connect with partner organizations to get these resources to those most in need. Volunteers are crucial – they help to sort and distribute supplies, and so much more.
You can be a part of Pet Pantry, too! Here’s how:
Donate food to keep the Pet Pantry well stocked. You can drop off new and unopened bags and cans of cat and dog food (**please, no prescription diets for this program!) in our Sparkle Wilsey Pet Services Lobby, or place an order from our Pet Pantry Wish List to have your contribution delivered directly to the shelter and to those in need.
Sign up to Volunteer for Pet Pantry. Join our volunteer interest list and select “Pet Pantry” as the shelter role you are interested in. You will be notified when volunteer roles open for recruitment!
Spread the Word. Pet Pantry is available to all family residents of Santa Clara County experiencing financial instability. If you or someone you know needs food, please fill out this form to get started.
To learn more about HSSV’s Pet Pantry program, click here.