The Covid pandemic impacted all aspects of life for everyone in our country causing businesses to close and leaving families in dire need of essential help. Animal welfare organizations struggled to meet basic needs. In rural communities, especially, pet owners were faced with surrendering their dogs at a higher rate to local shelters as a result of not being able to care for them.
Small communities like Rockbridge County, Virginia were no exception, and many members of our community struggled to feed themselves and their pets. Unemployment reached 11.1%. Our organization, Rockbridge Animal Alliance (RAA), buckled down to provide services to low-income families and to anyone impacted by the pandemic. Our Pet Food Pantry remained open, and volunteers continued distributing food to families in need. RAA was determined to provide life-saving services.
Although it was difficult to maintain supplies due to decreased donations, RAA was able to provide 3719 lbs of food during the peak of Covid on a bi-monthly basis. Volunteers used their own funds to ensure we had enough food to distribute; in addition, volunteers delivered dog food to clients’ homes who did not have transportation.
Our community continues to feel the impact of Covid during the current economic downturn and disrupted supply chain. Despite these challenges, RAA continues to provide pet food to our clients. With the addition of our new program which serves homebound senior citizens and their pets, RAA expects to exceed 8000 lbs of distributed food this fiscal year. Our goal is to keep pets at home with their families and minimize the trauma their owners continue to face.