ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Here come the holidays: big, fat meals, celebration, family.
Going without dinner so that you can feed your dog — not part of the anticipated show, but a real part in the lives of the needy.
Along with the holidays come the appeals to share with those less blessed. Sometimes it’s people. Sometimes it’s their pets. Here are some ways to help, so no one goes hungry.
Helping Animal Humane
Truman Middle School’s Rachel’s Challenge and MESA programs, which undertake community service projects each semester, recently chose to benefit Animal Humane New Mexico.
“We strive to teach kindness and compassion for both people and animals and to show young people how to be of service to their community,” says teacher Peggy Lynch-Hill.
She had been told by someone at Animal Humane that food pantries and homeless shelters reported that people were going without meals, giving their pets their own food rather than let them go hungry.
“So, we decided that we would collect the pet food, which is a project that helped both people and their pets,” Lynch-Hill says.
The challenge was laid down: The four homerooms that collected the most pet food during October would be rewarded with a party.
The kids collected 1,000 pounds of food.
Although that campaign has ended, the need has not. Peggy Weigle, the executive director at Animal Humane, says the nonprofit distributes about 3,000 pounds of pet food a week.
Donated food is used in a variety of ways, she says — canned food for foster and shelter animals, dry food for the Pet Food Bank, which is for individual pet owners in need and about 10 rescue groups.
“If we had more food, we could serve more — we run out every week, sometimes by Thursdays,” Weigle says.
Donations to the Pet Food Bank can be made at the shelter’s thrift store on the main campus, 615 Virginia SE. They are needed, and appreciated, all year long.
Worth your while
Acoma Training Center’s annual pet food drive benefits The Storehouse, which provides for low-income individuals and families — including their pets. Last year, the drive netted more than 6,000 pounds of pet food, and this year the goal is to double that. Now under way, the drive ends Nov. 22.
As thank-yous to those who donate:
– Acoma Training Center, 333 Wyoming SE, with a donation of 20 pounds of pet food in any combination, dry or canned, for cats or dogs, a $5 coupon for any class Acoma offers. Call 505-266-6436 for further information, or go to Acoma’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/acomatrainingcenter.
– Mario’s Pizzeria and Ristorate locations in Albuquerque will give you $3 off any order, dine-in or carry-out, for any donation. The locations are at San Pedro and Uptown, Juan Tabo and Menaul and Fourth and Montaño.
– Dairy Queen Orange Julius, 6600 Holly Ave NE, off Paseo Del Norte between San Pedro and Louisiana, will give you a free 3-ounce Soft Serve for any donation.
– Il Vicino Restaurants will give you 20 percent off your order with a donation. Locations are Nob Hill, 3403 Central NE, 11225 Montgomery NE and 10701 Corrales NW.
– Oak Tree Cafe V, 6909 Menaul NE, will give you a free large drink and dessert with your lunch order for any donation.
Food for whole family
Alliance for Albuquerque Animals and The Babes and Bullies, a pit bull advocacy and rescue group, will be giving out 40-pound bags of dog food and 20-pound bags of cat food on Thanksgiving at La Mesa Community Church to Trumbull/La Mesa neighborhood residents who are coming to the center that day for their Thanksgiving meal.
Alliance founder Debbra Colman says the group had a similar drive two years that was so successful, the pet food ran out.
“People were incredibly grateful and we heard many stories from people who are unemployed or disabled and who are having a tough time feeding their beloved pets,” she says.
In addition to pet food, the Alliance hopes to give out spay/neuter vouchers to people with chows, pit bulls and Rottweilers.
Donations can be sent to Alliance for ABQ Animals, 6701 Guadalupe Trail NW, Albuquerque, 87107.
If you wish to donate pet food, contact Jami Sanchez, 307-2969.