Three Chilliwack pet owners are hoping to help fellow animal lovers so their furry family members don’t go hungry.
Lorne Seifred, along with friends John and Elaine Sowik, started up Chilliwack Pet Food Bank and More at the beginning of January as a way to collect donations and hand them out to people struggling to feed their pets.
Seifred said it has been done in other communities, and although there are some local groups here that do collect and hand out pet food to those in need, an organization solely focussed on that one purpose is lacking in Chilliwack.
“I thought ‘why don’t we have something like that here?’ There’s got to be people in this community that are affected by COVID who are having struggles just putting food on the table for themselves, let alone caring for their loved ones,” Seifred said, hugging his dog Char-Lee.
So with their mission in mind, the three of them set up a Facebook page and began getting the word out. Donations have already starting coming in.
“We’ve got more than just food,” Seifred added.
They have dog coats and sweaters, leashes, collars, pet litter and more. They also have gift cards for various pet stores for owners who have animals with special dietary needs.
The trio is now looking to hand over some of those donations to people in need.
“Anywhere we can help, whether it be elderly or someone down on their luck or homeless,” Elaine Sowik said. “Like if it’s a week to pay day and they need a little extra help.”
Seifred knows what it’s like to need a helping hand. More than a year ago, Elaine set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to get a wheelchair for Seifred’s dog at the time, Clifford, who lost the use of his back legs. The fundraiser was successful and Clifford was able to spend his last months chasing chickens on their farm as a result.
Now the trio wants to help other pet owners, especially now in the midst of the pandemic where many people are no longer working full-time, or at all, and the government relief funds are only going so far, Seifred said.
“Number-one priority is feeding yourselves and taking care of yourselves, and number two is your animals and we’re here to help out with that second priority.”
To donate, or if you are in need of pet food or other items, go to the Facebook page Chilliwack Pet Food Bank & More. They are also willing to deliver items to people who cannot get out.
You can also reach them by email or phone: John Sowik’s email is email@example.com, and the Sowiks’ phone number is 604-792-3321 (land line).