St. Croix Animal Friends 'reaches out' to feed hungry petsArea News
-- Michele McElmeel’s three Chow Chows are family to her. She describes them as her “four-legged kids.”
By: Gretta Stark , Pierce County Herald
NEW RICHMOND, Wis. -- Michele McElmeel’s three Chow Chows are family to her. She describes them as her “four-legged kids.”
All three of the dogs are rescue pets she took in. But McElmeel doesn’t just adopt pets. She also helps keep other pets from being taken to shelters.
“If the only reason that somebody has to give up a pet was that they couldn’t feed them,” McElmeel said, “our goal is to not to have that pet surrendered to a shelter.”
McElmeel, a St. Croix Animal Friends board member, coordinates SCAF’s Reaching Out Program, a western Wisconsin program that provides pet food to those who can’t afford it.
McElmeel became the program’s coordinator in September. While the amount of food given out through the program each month varies, she said demand has grown since she began.
In October, she gave out 349 pounds of pet food. In February, she gave out 611 pounds. McElmeel said the food comes to the Reaching Out Program through community and corporate donations, as well as through pet food drives at local grocery stores. The Reaching Out program also gives out a limited amount of cat litter.
Through the program, McElmeel distributes pet food to local food shelves so those in need can pick up food for their pets as well as themselves. She also delivers food to homebound seniors, working with the St. Croix County Aging and Disability Resource Center. She said it is important to make sure the seniors can feed their pets because the pets provide them companionship.
“Their pet is their family,” she said.
McElmeel said she will sometimes make emergency pet food deliveries. Emergency situations, she said, have included delivering formula to pet owners with a new litter of kittens whose mother cat didn’t make it, and delivering pet food to families who haven’t been able to make their paycheck stretch.
“The food shelf was telling me that a lot of times … people will take out of their own food budget to feed their pets,” McElmeel said. “The bottom line is … we want to keep pets with their people.”
For more information, contact McElmeel at MicheleM@SCAFshelter.org.