Consider what wet pet food, pads of paper, markers and doggie treats all have in common. At the beginning of the year, a regional Amazon fulfillment center contacted the Animal Welfare Association (AWA), based in Voorhees, with an offer they could not refuse―a pallet or two of pet food and supplies every couple of months that are still good, but may have been returned or crushed in shipping.
When COVID-19 hit, online shopping exploded. More people were making purchases, so more items were amassing at the fulfillment center. The Amazon shipments grew to 10 pallets at a time. In addition to pet food and pet supplies, the AWA started to receive school and art supplies, and a variety of household cleaning items. “Holy Moly, our development office looks like a warehouse,” shared AWA’s development assistant who is responsible for figuring it all out.
After securing the needed pet food, pet supplies, cleaning and office supplies for the shelter, expanding the AWA Food Pantry to daily “grab-and- go” pickups and partnering with other agencies to deliver pet food to homebound pet owners took place. But there was more to share.
Fortunately, the AWA staff was able to cross over and coordinate with organizations outside of their normal scope of work. They contact several charities that would make use of the various supplies. HopeWorks, in Camden, is helping. Hope Church, in Voorhees, gladly accepted the offer of cleaning supplies to add to their food pantry and Urban Promise said they were always in need of art supplies for their camps and after-school programs.
In the last few weeks, this unintended charity drive has amassed the following:
10,000 pet meals through AWA’s Pet Food Pantries, Cantor Scott’s Outreach, Chow Stops, in Camden, Hope Church, and through Vitality Catholic Healthcare
300 children will receive school supplies through the Salvation Army, HopeWorks, Hope Church, Circle of Hope, Cathedral Kitchen and Urban Promise
400 families will receive laundry and cleaning supplies through Hope Church, Cathedral Kitchen and Vitality Catholic Healthcare
This type of continuous support allows the AWA to extend help into the community to assist pets and their people during these difficult times. Through donors’ gifts, grants and a lot of donated pet supplies, AWA expanded the Pet Food Pantry programs to meet the urgent need. In addition, they can support families with other essential items such as supplies for school, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies.
Every dollar a family can save means they are more likely to keep their pets. Saving animals before they arrive at AWA’s doors is as important as saving them when they cross under their doors.
The Animal Welfare Association is located at 509 Centennial Blvd., in Voorhees. For more information, call 856-424-2288 or visit awanj.org.