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Special to the Enquirer Handsome surprises Edee Grun with a kiss at Mount Tabor Church. Feeding Families of Alabama has two fundraisers for its pet pantry this month that will revolve around Handsome, a rescued pit bull. The ministry will collect pet food and supplies all month in honor of his birthday, and he’ll give kisses for $1 apiece on a date to be determined.

Nonprofits, animal shelters report fewer donations of pet supplies, despite great need

By Erica Smith

For the Enquirer

Donations of pet food and supplies to local nonprofits and shelters have decreased amid rising inflation, but the need for donations remains high, leaders of the organizations say.

Edee Grun, who runs Feeding Families of Alabama, said she has seen a big drop in pet food donations to the nonprofit lately. Feeding Families of Alabama has a pet food pantry along with its food pantry, and it provides pet food and supplies to anyone in need the second Monday of every month.

“Our take on the whole thing is, just because somebody hits a hard spot in life, and they have to go to a food pantry, they shouldn’t have to give up their pet,” Grun said. “Their pets are better off at home, where they’re loved and cared for.”

Grun said the increased price of pet food is a big reason donations are down. She said potential donors can’t afford the extra cost.

Marci Soloway from the Morgan County Humane Society’s Ani-Meals program, which supplies pet food to owners in need, said a 52-pound bag of Tractor Supply brand Retriever dog food has gone from $17 to $21. She has also noticed Purina and Pedigree dog foods have gone up $2 or $3 per container.

The consumer price index was up 7.9 percent in February from a year earlier.

Fortunately for Feeding Families, Grun said, April is the month when it has two fundraising campaigns based around her dog Handsome, the food pantry’s mascot.

“He can raise more food than I can for people,” Grun joked.

His birthday was Friday, and the entire month is recognized as a time to donate pet food in honor of his birthday.

Handsome will host a kissing booth this month, at which his kisses and a photo opportunity will be sold for $1 each. The date for that fundraiser hasn’t been determined.

Grun said her organization accepts donations of any type of pet food. She said some animal owners do not have just dogs and cats and will ask for bird food, hamster food and rabbit food.

Grun said they are also in need of pet treats for any kind of pet and will accept any pet supplies.

Donations can be dropped off any time in the donation tubs outside of Mount Tabor Church, located at 373 Mount Tabor Road, Hartselle. A check specified for the pet pantry can also be mailed to the Hartselle address.

Alane Ward, adoption representative at Decatur Animal Services, said they too have seen a decrease in donations of items like pet food. Ward said there is still a steady influx of items like newspapers and linens.

“When we do put out a plea to the public, like on our Facebook page, people typically respond. It just takes us physically asking for it before they do it,” Ward said.

The shelter takes donations of items such as towels, newspapers, leashes, collars, cat litter and cleaning supplies like disinfectant wipes and bleach. Ward said the pet foods they need the most are puppy and kitten food.

Donations can be made at the shelter, located at 300A Beltline Road SW in Decatur. If left after hours, the items must be in a container. Monetary donations can be mailed to the same address.

The Humane Society’s MC Ani-Meals partners with Meals on Wheels. Soloway, program director at MC Ani-Meals, said they deliver pet food and supplies to 40 Meals on Wheels recipients.

Ani-Meals also delivers pet food to veterans referred to them by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Soloway said they do not exclude anyone; if someone is in need, they take care of it.

The most dramatic decrease in donations has been monetary, Soloway away.

“It’s been down,” she said. “People don’t have a lot of extra money to part with.”

Soloway said most of the people on their list have dogs or cats, but some have other pets, like birds and rabbits. Food for all types of pets is always needed.

Right now, Ani-Meals has a need for cat litter, Soloway added. Other items needed include water bowls, leashes and any other pet supplies.

To donate food or supplies, send an email to mcanimeals@gmail.com or go to MC Ani-Meals on Facebook to set up a location to meet. To donate monetarily, visit the Facebook page.

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