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'Pets matter, too': Partners needed to expand York Region food bank pet food program

In 2021, FBYR collected and distributed more than 36,500 pounds of pet food
Rescue Angels
Volunteers from non-profit animal organization Rescue Angels pick up food collected by FBYR.

The Food Bank of York Region (FBYR) is aiming to expand its Pet Pantry Program by enlisting new organizations that operate or want to begin a pet food pantry.

As part of the program, the FBYR collected and delivered more than 36,500 pounds of pet food and products in 2021.

“A lot of the families that we support and help feed, have pets and they need to eat too,” said FBYR founder and CEO Alex Bilotta in a news release. “We’re committed to help ensuring we can assist people and organizations that support the well-being of animals in York Region, alongside fighting food insecurity for residents of York Region, because pets matter, too."

Bilotta first reached out to the OSPCA in Whitchurch-Stouffville about supporting the feral cat program in 2016 and a partnership was formed.

In addition to the OSPCA, FBYR supports non-profit animal organizations Rescue Angels in Richmond Hill and Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge in Georgina.

“Thanks to partners like the Food Bank of York Region, food is reaching the animals who need it most. We are grateful for the support we have received to help stock our community cat food pantry that feeds this vulnerable, and often overlooked, population of animals,” said Monica Seto, Ontario SPCA and Humane Society manager of health and wellness.

FBYR also supplies pet food by request through its home delivery program, and to local food pantries and social housing co-ops in its network. The locally sourced, donated pet food and products are provided by multiple retail stores across the region.

For more information about the Pet Pantry Program or to inquire about partnering with the FBYR visit their website. 

The Food Bank of York Region is the regional food hub and mobile food pantry with a network of more than 75 social service agencies and emergency home delivery programs. The network supports food programs in the nine municipalities of York Region, serving more than 24,000 individuals in 7,000 households.