Donation-Based Program Offers Food Stamps For Pets
12:30 pm, February 26th | by Colette McIntyre
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, about 46.6 million people received food stamps in 2012. Luckily for struggling citizens, a federal framework is in place to ensure that they receive the help they need — but when we fall on hard times, what becomes of
man’s woman’s best friend? (by “best friend,” I of course mean pets, not diamonds, wine, Julie from middle school with whom you got matching belly button rings, Jennifer Lawrence, pizza, or that girl you talk to on the White Collar message boards. Feasibly they could get by without you).
Pet Food Stamps is a donation-based program in New York committed to helping low-income families and food stamp recipients feed their pets. Open to anyone in the United States, the program has signed up more than 45,000 pets in the past two weeks. Program founder and director Marc Okan explained that Pet Food Stamps supplies participants with monthly food packages from retailer Pet Food Direct after verifying their incomes. The shipments last for six months.
“We’re not looking for government funding at this point,” Okon said. “Should the government be willing to provide assistance further down the line, we will look into it.” Owners in need can obtain Pet Food Stamps through an online application. At the moment, the program is still waiting for its nonprofit approval.
A food stamp program for pets isn’t such a ridiculous idea: when an individual is struggling to meet their own needs, a once-beloved companion can seem like a frivolous expense and rather quickly become a burden. Most low-income pet owners are forced to drop their animals off at overcrowded shelters where they are usually put to sleep. Pet Food Stamps fills a fairly big void in the federal food stamps program and we are all about it. Keep on feeding those cute animals, Pet Food Stamps!
…With that said, the idea of animals receiving food stamps is a little funny. Just picture it: a line of cats in ol’ timey, Depression-era fedoras and coats waiting for soup; hamsters dressed like Dickensian street urchins offering to sweep your chimney for a tuppence; a dirt-smudged dog putting down his empty bowl of gruel, saying, “Please, sir, I want some more.” It is only a matter of time before this issue splits the pet nation down party lines. The GOP (Grand Old Pets) will rail against the government for giving out hand outs; rapper Ol’ Dirty Boxer will release an album that uses his benefit card as a cover. Oliver and Company won’t have prepared you for this.