TAMPA, Fla. - Three years ago a rescue group saw an increasing need within the homeless community to provide food for their animal companions.
"The Community Pet Project started in June of 2017 as a division of a local rescue," explained Rhonda Eldridge, president of Community Pet Project.
Local food banks saw an increase in homeless people they were serving arriving with furry friends, and volunteers noticed that their clients were feeding the donated food to their pets instead of eating.
That's where Community Pet Project stepped into the picture.
"They were feeding their pets, they weren't feeding themselves," Eldridge shared. "To make sure that people were eating, we said, ‘Let us feed your pets. Let the food banks feed you.’"
Their efforts allowed the homeless community to keep constant companions in their lives.
"These are the most loved pets you will ever meet," Eldridge said. "We provide food, treats, collars, leashes. Anything that has been donated to us we give back to the clients that need it for no cost."
All of this experience allowed for the Community Pet Project to be ready to step in for a larger need when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
"Since COVID has happened, we created a second program, which enables us to provide food or care for those affected by COVID," Eldridge said.
They now have a staff of 17 volunteers that will transport pet supplies and necessities to those who need it.
"We provide free delivery," Eldridge explained.
The end goal has always been to keep pets with owners who love them.
Click here to find out more about the Community Pet Project.