WASHINGTON — Humane Society International (HSI), a global network supporting animal shelters and pet owners, announced April 29 a $1 million donation from Mars, Incorporated to benefit its programs in countries most impacted by COVID-19.

"We are incredibly grateful to Mars for this generous donation, which recognizes that our companion animals are a vital part of our families," said Jeffrey Flocken, president of HSI. "…As the world struggles with this pandemic, these critically needed funds will directly help dogs and cats who are suffering as a result of the coronavirus crisis, be it starving dogs on the streets in India, Chile and elsewhere, or shelters in need of vital supplies in South Africa and beyond."

This adds to Mars’ previous commitment of $20 million cash and in-kind donations to support various people and pet communities during the pandemic. This includes a $5 million donation to CARE, a nonprofit serving developing countries, $2 million toward the United Nation’s World Food Programme, and this latest donation to HSI.

HSI will use the funding to assist struggling pet owners, crowded shelters and homeless animals. The organization will also work with various governments to ensure pet health and safety are represented in emergency planning, and promote accurate information about the pandemic’s affect on companion animal welfare during this time.

Relief efforts will be implemented in phases, starting with eight regions identified as having the most urgent animal welfare needs, HSI explained. This first phase will include Chile, China, Guyana, India, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and the Middle East, and is expected to benefit more than 20,000 companion animals.

"It's vital that businesses like ours do our part to ensure the continued health and well-being of the people, pets and communities most affected by COVID-19, which is why Mars Incorporated has committed $20 million in relief to vulnerable populations across the world," said Poul Weihrauch, president of Mars Global Petcare. "For those of us fortunate enough to have animals in our lives, the companionship, love and comfort they bring has probably never felt more important. That's why we are pleased to provide $1 million in support to HSI, an organization dedicated to providing critical support to the millions of vulnerable pets across the world."

Mars employees have also volunteered to help HSI by offering assistance to animal shelters, encouraging animal adoption and fostering, and engaging with their communities to support companion animal needs during the pandemic.

Read about other pet industry companies giving back to support people impacted by COVID-19.