Setting Up a Pet Food Bank in Your Community

By isak, May 4, 2009

reprinted from Save Our Pets Food Bank website

Write a press release announcing the pet food bank.

Send the press release to newspapers, radio and TV media. Also any local neighborhood publications and newsletters. Try to find the animal advocates in the media that will take a personal interest in the story.

Pet food donation binContact local pet food stores and ask if they will display a pet food bin for collection of food donations from their customers. We decorated ours as shown here just to draw attention to the cause. We provided a one page flyer that could be given out by the store explaining the pet food bin and bank and what our goals were. We have changed this flyer from time to time to reflect the amount of food that has been collected and given out and how many animals we have helped save since the inception of the pet food bank. People want to see where there donations are going and how people are being helped.

Follow up with the press with story opportunities. Get local celebrities involved if possible.

Solicit volunteers immediately. There is always a network of animal rescue people that are ready and willing to help. We contacted our local animal control as well as a group called P.A.L.S that help people on Social Security or with disabilities and already had a delivery program in place that we patterned our pickup and deliveries by. We have since been able to get many people in to their program that would otherwise not be helped.

Establish a dedicated phone line to take calls and request for food from people in need that either read about the program or saw new coverage on TV. We have forms that we can send for you to go by that list the questions needed to be answered in order to qualify recipients and also find out how many dogs and cats they have. If dry food or wet food or both is preferred. If they are able to pick up the food on the designated days or if they need special delivery. Volunteers call these people back and take down the information. We then group them all together and the food is pulled and ready for pick up or delivery on the designated pick up or delivery day.

Find spokespeople that have first hand experience about people having to give up their pets or leaving them behind due to their economic situation. Real Estate professionals, animal control spokesperson, shelter groups etc.

Contact other resources to display the pet food bins. We have had animal lovers in various neighborhoods request the pet food bins be placed on their front porch and then they have taken around flyers to their neighbors explaining what the bins are for and how much the food and donations are needed and how they are distributed. Another resource has been in office buildings. For instance, we have a group of workers that have requested a pet food bin and they have made it their “project” to keep the bins full as one of their office projects.

Contact large box stores like Pet Smart that might be able to work with you by donating food that cannot be offered through their stores because of possible rips in bags or bent cans, etc.

Ask for someone to donate a facility to store the food and have pick ups from that location.

Document testimonials of people showing their appreciation for this service. Have media coverage on this opportunity if possible. Take pictures and get names and releases for the photographs.

Set up a web site. You are welcome to link to ours…sometime soon I would like to have a link to everyone’s web site so that the homepage would be national information and then you could click on a state and then city and the person could go directly to the town with information pertaining to that community.

Set up for donations and Paypal. We have asked for Memorials to be placed on line as well so that donations can be made in memory of someone.


  • Proof of unemployment low income status or disability with a valid driver license or some form of ID each month.
  • Agree that pets are for companionship and not for breeding or any illegal activities.
  • Agree to maintain healthy condition/environment living conditions for all pets, or let someone know if this is not possible.
  • Pick up food once a month. We must limit the number of pets that are given food and this will be on a discussion/situation basis.
  • Agree to volunteer or give back to the food bank.
  • Agree to give fresh water daily.
  • Agree not to tether or chain dog 24/7.

Sample Pet Food Assistance Application.

Yes, you can start a local pet food bank!

We will be glad to help and offer suggestions in any way we can. You will probably have more questions than we have answers here so please do not hesitate to call me at 404-372-7571 (Atlanta, GA). My direct email is bloomeyceo[@]

The most important thing is to get the word out that there is help available to everyone. Please do not give up…and please do not leave your pet behind to die a very slow and painful death.


  1. Shanon Houk says:

    Do you deliver in Toledo Ohio if a senior is home bound?

    • isak says:

      No, I’m sorry, we don’t. We are providing you with info about possible assistance. You need to contact assistance in your area to see if they can help you, if they might offer delivery or if they know someone in your area who does.

  2. Emily Panek says:

    I am the outreach coordinator for a food bank in Buffalo NY. Many of my clients
    have dogs and cats as companions,however, they are giving their food to their
    pets because they can’t always buy food for their pets. I would like to service
    my clients and offer them food for their pets. Any suggestions or
    help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Our food pantry is
    the St. Casimir Food Pantry 1833 Clinton St Buffalo NY contact by e mail or
    716-891 8753.

    • isak says:

      Are you able to contact them or do they come to you? If they come in, maybe you can give them a coupon for free pet food. If you can contact them, perhaps mail them the first coupon just to make them aware that you have this service for them.

      This is really a wonderful thing that you are doing. I can’t say that enough. If we can help in any way — even creating a coupon for you — let us know.

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