As the COVID-19 situation develops worldwide, some companies in the pet food and treat industry in the United States and Canada are turning their resources to benefit animal rescues and pet owners in need.
"I and Love and You," a pet food and treat company based in Boulder, Colo., donated more than 11,200 pet meals and 300 treats to Colorado Pet Pantry as the organization continues to assist pet owners impacted by COVID-19.
Wellness Natural Pet Food, based in Tewksbury, Mass., announced April 15 it will donate two truckloads of pet food, weighing more than 33,000 lbs total, to the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). This adds to the 300,000 pet meals the company has donated to local community groups serving "at-risk" animals over the last month.
"The Greater Boston Food Bank is grateful for partners like Wellness Natural Pet Food for their generous donation during this unprecedented situation," said Catherine D'Amato, president and chief executive officer of GBFB. "Everyone has a role in ending hunger in our community and this donation will help our neighbors in need provide food for their four-legged friends."
Rachael Ray announced on April 9 that her Nutrish brand is partnering with GreaterGood.org's Rescue Bank to donate 4 million pet food meals to animal shelters and pet owners impacted by coronavirus.
On April 2, Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Nestlé Purina, announced in a public letter that the company is donating funds and resources to three major charities: Petfinder Foundation, Greteargood.org's Rescue Bank and RedRover, the company's Purple Leash Project partner.
Petfinder Foundation is serving animal shelters and rescues across the United States through its designated COVID-19 fund, which will provide financial support. GreaterGood.org's Rescue Bank is providing pet food and necessary supplies to shelters and rescues, and RedRover will be issuing emergency grants to pet owners who are survivors of domestic violence, as well as pet owners who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
"As this global crisis develops, the helpers are emerging, and Purina is committed to standing tall," Krueger said. "We are providing these partners and others with more than they have asked of us, and we ask those who have the means to help to consider giving as well."
On March 23, Chilliwack, British Columbia-based Petcurean donated 270,000 premium pet food meals to animal shelters, animal rescue groups and homeless shelters in the Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec regions of Canada. The company is providing multiple formulas, including life-stage specific diets and diets for companion animals with food sensitivities.
“In making these donations, Petcurean hopes to shine a small spotlight on the deserving cats and dogs in shelters and encourage others to do what they can to help support animal rescue organizations during this extraordinary time,” said Christine Mallier, community relations manager at Petcurean.
On March 25, Simmons Pet Food donated more than 30,000 lbs of dry pet food to over a dozen shelters and organizations that support pet owners across Northwest Arkansas. HARK of Northwest Arkansas and the Endeavor Foundation helped with distributing the donations.
Vital Essentials, a Green Bay, Wis.-based brand manufactured by Carnivore Meat Company, said it is donating $100,000 to Green Bay area organizations, including food pantries, shelters and outreach organizations, in response to COVID-19. This comes as part of the company's Vital Relief Challenge, a campaign launched to encourage pet food and supply companies to make donations to their local charities and communities to help those impacted by the pandemic.
“We’re asking our distributors, their suppliers, and other brands in the industry to donate to the communities they serve to help offset some of the effects of the COVID-19 crisis," said Lanny Viegut, owner and chief executive officer of Carnivore Meat Company.
The challenge involves asking business leaders and CEOs to donate essential pet supplies to local organizations, share their donations on social media with a designated hashtag, #VEchallenge, and encourage their colleagues at other pet companies to do the same.
“It’s our hope this Challenge will spread faster than the virus,” Viegut added. “I believe the Challenge we’re issuing to other business owners and CEOs can make a huge difference in communities all across the US and could potentially help save lives.”
The company that produces Vital Essentials pet food and treat products, Carnivore Meat Company, donated its brand-new ultraviolet (UV) sterilizer to medical workers and other essential employees in the Green Bay area in mid-April. The UV sterilizer can sanitize up to 1.4 million face masks per week. One mask can be sterilized and reused up to five times, according to Carnivore Meat Company. This could reduce the need to purchase more masks, resulting in cost savings of up to $2 million per week, the company estimated.
Chewy, a pet e-commerce platform, on March 26 announced a partnership with GreaterGood.org to donate more than $1.7 million in pet food, pet health supplies and other pet products to animal welfare organizations across the United States.
"The unprecedented sheltering crisis that has resulted from the pandemic leaves many animal welfare organizations without basic supplies, and pet food is in especially high demand. Chewy’s donations make it possible for many shelters to continue to save pets’ lives through this difficult time,” said Liz Baker, chief executive officer at GreaterGood.org.
The company is focusing its donation efforts on areas most affected by the virus, including California, Washington and New York.
Sumit Singh, CEO of Chewy, added, “We remain dedicated to our partners operating on the frontlines of the current situation and will continue to look for ways to donate more.”
PetSmart Charities, a philanthropic division of the pet retail chain, announced March 18 it is committing $1 million to support pets and pet owners impacted by the coronavirus. Donations will be used to support animal shelters in areas that have been impacted the most, as well as other organizations working to help pets and pet owners.
“As an organization dedicated to supporting pets and the people who love them, PetSmart Charities remains committed to the health and welfare of pets during this unprecedented time, and our hearts go out to those impacted by COVID-19,” said Chris McCurdy, interim president at PetSmart Charities.
“Whether you are a shelter overwhelmed with the intake of homeless pets or an organization that provides resources to pet parents concerned about how they will care for their pets due to quarantine, we're here for you,” McCurdy added.
Wisconsin-based Gott Pet Products, which produces Charlee Bear and Hound & Gatos brands of pet food and treats, has partnered with the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County (HAWS) to donate wet food, kibble and assorted treats to the organization's newly opened pet food pantry. The donation marks the first pet nutrition products to be donated to HAWS.
“When we heard that HAWS was opening up a pantry, we wanted to provide the initial stock for this wonderful resource to help the community and assist those in need," said Patrick McGarry, chief operating officer of Gott Pet Products.
In Canada, NutriCanine is donating 1,000 lbs of raw dog food to "vulnerable and immunocompromised" community members, as well as people financially impacted by COVID-19. The company is a direct-to-consumer raw pet food startup based in Toronto.
NutriCanine is also offering contact-free delivery of its pet foods and a 30% discount on all orders over the next 30 days.
Follow our breaking news coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation.