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In coronavirus economic downturn, OC Animal Care launches pop-up pantry for pets

Pop-up pantries have popped up around Orange County, providing groceries during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are helping people who have lost jobs to feed their families – and pets are family members, too,” said Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do.

That’s why OC Animal Care decided to launch its own food giveaway – with the support of the County Board of Supervisors.

On Saturday morning, June 13, the shelter will debut its “Family Fur-st  Food Pantry,” slated to take place the second Saturday of every month.

“All of us have pets that are important to us,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett.

Pet owners can pick up a bag of free food for their dogs, cats and rabbits from 8 to 10 a.m., while supplies last.

“Our goal is for people in economic crisis to not have to abandon their pets at the shelter,” Do said. “Sometimes it can be hard to place pets in a new home. The easiest and best solution is to keep families in tact – including pets.”

To meet current social distancing recommendations, the kibble will be distributed in a drive-thru – allowing attendees to remain in their vehicles while volunteers load the food.

Families are asked to leave their pets at home to make the event as efficient – and calm – as possible.

OC Animal Care is still closed to visitors, but continues to provide adoptions by appointment only.

“Our staff is limited right now, so we are accepting only emergency surrenders,” said OC Animal Care spokeswoman Jessica Novillo, adding the shelter can help with locating rescue organizations.

Currently, the shelter has about 200 animals on site – half the usual number – and 300 in fosters, Novillo said.

“But the interest in adoption hasn’t dropped,” she said, “and more people have become interested in fostering.”

Bartlett said she hears about people inspired to bring home a pet for company during the shelter-in-place recommendation. “Pets provide great entertainment,” she noted.

Do hopes the program will survive for at least a couple of years. “It will take a while for the economy to recover,” he said.

The shelter partnered with the Animal Assistance League of Orange County, SoCal Animal Response Team and The Shamrock Rescue Foundation to establish the program.

Those interested in supporting the effort can donate food to the Animal Assistance League Amazon wish list.

The OC Animal Care facility is at 1630 Victory Road in Tustin. For more information about the Family Fur-st Pet Food Pantry and future events, please visit the OC Animal Care website at

Source: Orange County Register

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