Animal Care Service, San Antonio Food Bank make urgent appeal for donations

Food pantries for people, pets running low

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Despite reports that the economy is improving, many are still struggling to provide food for their families and their pets. Both Animal Care Services and the San Antonio Food Bank, located next door to each other in the 4700 block of Highway 151, report increased demand but fewer donations.

Camille Shelton, ACS volunteer services coordinator, said that typically, the agency receives one or two new applicants a month.

“But five new applications in a week,” she said, is a significant increase.

“We would love to say the demand is decreasing,” said Michael Guerra, chief development officer at the San Antonio Food Bank. “But the way our economy is, people (are) moving here ... working at that service level, just not really enough for a living wage. We definitely see the need growing.”

Guerra said many of shelves in the Food Bank warehouse are empty. He also said although companies donate large supplies of perishable and non-perishable items, the food that is there now “will last 12 days, won’t make it Thanksgiving. So we need our community more than ever.”

He said financial contributions can go a long way.

“One dollar turns into 10 pounds of food,” he said.

Food drives also help replenish the supply, which is in constant demand.

Shelton said city funding provides food for the animals at its shelter, but its pet pantry for families in need depends on donations.

“Unfortunately, we’re looking at having hungry pets for the foreseeable future," she said.

As of Thursday morning, the ACS pet pantry has only nine bags of dry dog food and no cat litter. She said newspaper and pet treats also are running critically low and will run out in the next week.

The pet pantry shelves at the San Antonio Food Bank seem better stocked than those on the people side. Its program, DaisyCares, is named after a Yorkie belonging to local philanthropist Ami Gordon.

Maria Alvarado, the program’s coordinator, said Daisy emerged from a coma and went on to live another 12 years. Alvarado said that's why DaisyCares continues in tribute to the beloved Yorkie.

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