Manatee county food drive not only feeds humans, but also their furry friends

Updated: Feb. 28, 2021 at 8:55 AM EST
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PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) -Mayors’ Feed the Hungry partnered with the National PTSD Service Association in a “Pets are Hungry, Too!” people and pet food drive on Saturday in Sutton Park. The food drive benefitted families and veterans struggling to feed their four-legged fur babies due to the COVID–19 pandemic.

“We have a mission today, we are collecting food for their friends, their furry friends,” said Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant.

Mayors Feed the Hungry Volunteer Chairman Joel Swallow said this not only came about through a partnership, but also a need he saw with his clients.

“70% of our clients come up through the agency and ask if we have any food for their pets,” said Swallow.

President of the National PTSD Service Association Sandra LaFlamme said they were excited to team up and make a difference.

“Our organization is proud to provide highly skilled service dogs to qualified military veterans with PTSD, empowering them to return to life with confidence and independence,” said LaFlamme. “We are delighted to team up with Mayors’ Feed the Hungry for the Pets Are Hungry, Too! food drive.”

The National PTSD Service Association and Mayors’ Feed the Hungry both serve families and veterans throughout southwest Florida and understand the dire need to provide pet food assistance for families that are also trying to put food on the family table.

Swallow said even though they decided to not host huge food drives due to COVID-19, they decided to get a little crafty. Swallow implemented a drive-up system, where donors would only have to pop their trunk and their items would be received.

“It’s real easy because there is no personal touching, we take the food out of the trunks and put it in boxes,” said Swallow.

Swallow said this also changed how they hosted drives as well.

“In addition to that we also got a grant for the beautiful truck, that enables us to be mobile,” said Swallow.

The truck was a gift of Impact 100 SRQ, the organization can now accept all kinds of food, including fresh, frozen and non-perishable.

Swallow said serving his community in this way makes him feel whole.

“It’s the most fulfilling thing I have done in my life,” said Swallow.

To donate, potentials donors can:

  1. Text the word GIVE to 941-275-2032
  2. Donate online
  3. Mail a check to Mayors’ Feed the Hungry, PO Box 1992, Sarasota FL 34230

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