Since the start of the pandemic, the non-profit organization CARE4Paws has distributed more than 850,000 pounds of pet food to families in need through its mobile veterinary clinic and regular community events. As life returns to normal for many in the community, thousands of Santa Barbara County families are still struggling to pay rent and bills, let alone feed their furry friends.
That’s why CARE4Paws volunteer Ava Vasquez, a freshman at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, decided to host a pet food drive at her old elementary school, Vieja Valley in Santa Barbara. “During the pandemic, I volunteered at CARE4Paws’ mobile vet clinic, handing out pet food,” says Vasquez. “I see how much families appreciate food, so I thought it would be a great project to get other students involved in helping families who need pet food.”
Over the past month, Vasquez has worked directly with teachers at Vieja Valley Elementary to onboard all students. She made sure that students brought their parents flyers about the drive and that all 15 classrooms in the school had their own large donation boxes, generously donated by Home Depot in Lompoc. The result? The students harvested 400 pounds of pet food in one week!
“We couldn’t be more grateful to Ava and the generosity of the students, parents and teachers at Vieja Valley Elementary,” says Wendy Domanski, community and volunteer programs coordinator for CARE4Paws, who helped Vasquez prepare for the road. . “We are also extremely grateful to our business and non-profit partners for joining forces to support those in need. Not to mention the thousands of individual donors who contributed food and funds to help others in the community.
Ava Vasquez was able to see her kindergarten teacher Lynn Seigel-Boettner in Vieja Valley. (Photo: Winkface Photography)
When people live in poverty, so do their pets. For the past 12 years, CARE4Paws has worked to support low-income, elderly, disabled, and homeless community members by providing access to essential services, such as veterinary care, neuters and neuters, and food. for pets. In fact, since the pandemic began, the nonprofit has tripled the number of pet families it supports each year to more than 20,000.
In 2021, CARE4Paws assisted 10,000 dogs and cats with services through its Mobile Community Medicine & Spay/Neuter Outreach program. This year, the nonprofit expanded its mobile clinic services to San Luis Obispo County (SLO) through a project called Snip & Chip SLO (snipslo.org), in conjunction with the Animals in Need fund of the SLO County and Animal Shelter Adoption Partners (ASAP).
“Thank you, CARE4Paws, for helping all these animals in our community and helping me with this food drive,” says Vasquez, who hopes other students will follow his example and hold fundraisers at their schools.
Featured articles feature local events, nonprofits, and small businesses in Santa Barbara County. Email [email protected] to highlight your event and local business.