Kamloops' only food bank for pets needs your help - InfoNews

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Kamloops' only food bank for pets needs your help

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March 21, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - On any Tuesday night, you can find a food bank set up next to the Salvation Army food truck on St. Paul Street and Fourth Avenue in downtown Kamloops – but it's not your average food bank.

Bonnie McBride and her daughter started Four Paws Food Bank last year in hopes of helping low-income pet owners feed their furry friends. McBride has volunteered with the BC SPCA for the past 20 years and came up with the idea of a food bank for pets.

"It started up with me showing up in my van one night at the Salvation Army’s dinner that they put on Tuesday nights downtown," she says. "It's really grown quite a bit since I started it."

With the growth of the organization has come growth in demand, McBride says. She now works with 12 volunteers, but says more supply is needed to help satisfy the number of people using the Four Paws service.

McBride says spring is kitten season and although Four Paws works closely with the SPCA, they'll need some donations from the public while the SPCA helps out others in need. She says a large donation this winter has helped the food bank for the time being.

"We were very fortunate this winter to receive a really large donation of high quality dog food from a rescue group in the Lower Mainland," she says. "Everything that comes to us can be used for sure. We’ve never come across something that we weren’t able to find somebody who could make use of it."

McBride says the organization is currently in need of mostly cat supplies, including dry cat food, dry kitten food and cat toys. Four Paws accepts open bag donations as well, and any donations can be made to the B.C. SPCA Kamloops branch or the We Love Dogs daycare in Aberdeen. Donations to Four Paws through these centres need to be specified as such.

McBride says her organization's goal isn't just to make sure pets on the streets don't go hungry, it's to ensure their health and safety.

"One of the other services we provide besides the food bank is we do work with Emerald Centre," McBride says. "People that need to access an overnight emergency shelter that have a pet, we’ll... keep (their pet) overnight."

McBride says she has about eight foster homes who are on call to take in pets overnight. Four Paws also tries to bridge the gap for people who aren't able to surrender their pet themselves. McBride says in some cases people who don't have access to transportation or who suffer from mental health issues will make an arrangement for Four Paws to pick their pet up and surrender it.

McBride says her driving inspiration behind Four Paws was finding a way to fill the gaps in services that aren't addressed by organizations like the SPCA, Salvation Army and New Life Mission.

"We’ve been flexible in making sure that we’re fitting in well and actually filling a gap in services," she says. "We didn’t want to be doing anything that other people were already doing."

Beginning next month, the Emerald Centre hostel in downtown Kamloops is expected to begin accepting pets in their shelter and McBride says Four Paws is working with them to be a part of the transition.

"The shelters will be in a position to accept pets and we have talked to them about that at Emerald Centre, and offered our support in helping set up what that looks like," McBride says. "Accepting pets into the shelter is going to be something that requires a lot of thought... We’ve extended our eagerness to be a part of that and support them however they need."

If you want to learn more about Four Paws Food Bank and how you can donate, visit their Facebook page.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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