While the Kitchener-Waterloo and Area Pet Food Bank is only a few months old, the not-for-profit organization is already making an impact on the pet-loving community of Kitchener-Waterloo. Founded in early February of this year, the organization focuses on helping pet owners who find are financially struggling to purchase expensive pet food for furry friends. 

Emma Galloway is the director and founder of the KWA Pet Food Bank. She has always been passionate about caring for animals, and by supporting the Humane Society through foster care,  Galloway found out that many pets are abandoned by their owners who can not afford their care. These animals are either surrendered to their shelters, abandoned on the streets, or in the worst cases, are euthanized if their health is deteriorating. 

By creating the KWA Pet Food Bank, Galloway hopes to give community members an avenue to receive free food and supplies for their pets.

“When people get pets, they don’t realize that it does get expensive and then once those costs come they make unethical decisions, or they give them up to the Humane Society, which is already full anyways,” said Galloway.

To get their organization off the ground, the KWA Pet Food Bank had to reach out to local pet stores, manufacturers and other local businesses to ask for donations and sponsorships. The organization receives a majority of their donations from local pet stores, but rely heavily on cash or pet food donations from the public. 

Galloway is also hoping to bring in more specialty pet foods, such as urinary pet food, kidney pet food, weight management, and gastrointestinal food, for owners who have no access to these specialty pet products. 

“I try to encourage the public to donate more of those foods because there’s been such a high demand for those,” said Galloway. “We really want to stress the need for that specialty food — we’ll take anything.”

The KWA Pet Food Bank is now looking for volunteers, webmasters and partnership coordinators to help fully build the organization. The KWA Pet Food Bank will be attending local pet-related events this year, such as the KW Pet Expo on May 4-5 at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, to raise cash and food donations for the organization and expose themselves to the surrounding communities.

“We’re attending a bunch of events as well in the hopes that we can get our name out there and get more people to donate to us,” said Galloway.

Currently, Galloway is running a GoFundMe page to raise donations, which will go towards the purchasing of special pet food (their first priority), digital marketing and promotions, and to possibly register the organization with the Ontario government. 

According to Galloway, this is the first time that most of her clients have heard of a pet food bank and a number of pet owners are already waiting to receive special pet food from the KWA Pet Food Bank. Galloway encourages any pet owner in the community to donate any specialty food they are able to spare.

“[Our clients say] by using our food bank — which focuses solely on just pet food — it helps a lot,” said Galloway. “Those donations of any kind would be appreciated.”