Millions of households faced evacuation orders or displacements during natural disasters in 2018, forcing families to make tough choices on issues such as transport, food and medical care — including for their beloved pets. Members of the Pet Food Institute (PFI), who make the quality pet food that feeds our dogs and cats, are ready to be a part of the response when these disasters strike. This includes working with partners to help distribute pet food and supplies for families in need and collaborating with the pet care community nationwide.
One important partner is the charitable group GreaterGood.org and their program Rescue Bank, which specifically works to help pets impacted during disasters and keep families and their pets together. Together, PFI members have worked to help impacted families in times of need.
Helping People and Pets during Hurricane Florence
In early September, the Carolinas were rocked by Hurricane Florence, which dropped up to 35 inches of rain in certain parts of the states. Massive flooding ensued, resulting in nearly $18 billion in property damage and economic losses in North and South Carolina. Families were devastated and millions of households were placed under evacuation advisories.
PFI members played an active role in supporting the impacted communities. For example, PFI member company Mars Petcare worked proactively with Rescue Bank, a program of GreaterGood.org, to deliver three truckloads of pet food in advance of the storm. This anticipatory approach allowed Rescue Bank to immediately have resources on-hand to respond more quickly to needs and to collect and distribute the cat and dog food to shelters, rescues and local food banks.
Nestlé Purina Petcare worked with GreaterGood.org, donating $25,000 to the program to help provide support for those impacted by the destructive storm. These funds went directly toward disaster relief programs to support immediate rescue efforts, provide supplies, and assist in rebuilding activities.
Paradise, CA, Camp Fires
Just a few months later, disaster struck on the other side of the country when a wildfire broke out surrounding Paradise, CA. The sixth-deadliest wildfire in U.S. history, the Paradise fire resulted in thousands of homes destroyed and displaced more than 50,000 people.
Rescue Bank again served as important partners to help support those impacted. Perfection Pet Foods, headquartered in California, acted quickly in mid-November with a donation of nearly 4,500 pounds of pet food to Rescue Bank. Like the support provided in the Carolinas, this pet food was distributed through food banks, shelters and rescues.
GreaterGood.org also provided services and support to those impacted by the fires in California, and Nestle Purina donated $10,000 to the program to support the charity’s relief efforts.
The Pet Care Community Acting Together
From veterinary organizations to pet food distributors, a diverse group of leaders in the pet care community have also partnered with Rescue Bank through the Pet Leadership Council’s Giving Network, which mobilizes the pet industry in times of crisis. The Pet Leadership Council Giving Network supports streamlined access between Rescue Bank and organizations in the pet industry and has been a critical tool in bringing together those who can help with those in need. The Giving Network provides regular updates on specific disaster-response needs both online and through conference calls, plans logistical support and works to swiftly and efficiently respond with direct donations to affected communities.
Helping Households Across the Country
As the makers of complete and balanced pet food for nearly two-thirds of U.S. households, pet food makers are active parts of their communities. Whether partnering with local shelters for direct donations, engaging with third-party groups such as GreaterGood.org and Rescue Bank, or supporting non-profits that help other vulnerable populations, PFI members are ready to help pets and families.
Join us throughout the year as we continue to share these stories about pet food makers in your community. In the meantime, we encourage pet owners to review their emergency preparedness plan and have a kit ready to go in case disaster strikes.