Moose Meals Helps Seniors, Homeless Feed Their Pets
Last updated 3/3/2021 at 7:40am | View PDF
Area seniors who may be struggling to afford to feed their pets have a resource to turn to for Fido's food.
Moose's Meals, Inc. is a pet pantry started by Sarah Vinet after she recognized the need when she moved to the area in 2016.
"There are pet pantries in Fresno and Bakersfield, but none in between," she said.
Moose's Meals, named after Sarah and Matt Vinet's husky-pitbull mix, began in May last year and has distributed more than 17,000 pounds of dog and cat food to elderly, low-income or homeless residents. Vinet said as the word began to spread, people have come from as far away as Porterville, Terra Bella and Hanford to the monthly distribution.
Currently, St Paul's Church in Visalia hosts the event, which is usually held on either the first or second Saturday of each month in the parking lot at 120 N. Hall St.
"Pets are wonderful additions to any family and provide welcome comfort and companionship to the elderly and homeless," said Vinet. "However, when people are struggling to even feed themselves, they often have to choose between feeding themselves or feeding their pets.
"Or the inability to afford food for their pets leads them to have to make the heartbreaking decision to surrender their pet or even abandon them in one of Tulare County's many orchards or backroads. That's not a decision that anyone should have to make."
Those interested in obtaining food for their pets have to complete an application showing proof of need, which could include a copy of an EBT/WIC card, unemployment letter, Social Security card, Medi-Cal card or other proof of need. Approved applications are good for 12 months and can be obtained either at their website, http://www.MoosesMeals.org, or at one of the monthly food distributions. The website includes additional details about registering.
Food is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. And while 2,300 pounds of pet food is now being distributed monthly, Vinet hopes to grow that number even larger by adding additional distribution dates each month.
Corporations such as Western Milling, Heiskell's Feed Depot, Petco and Target have jumped on board with either donations of food or financial contributions, or have served as food donation sites.
If you are interested in donating food, your time or helping out financially, contact Vinet at (206) 643-9520 or go to the website. The next distribution is scheduled for March 20 from noon until 2 p.m. or while supplies last. Future events are announced on the organization's Facebook page and website.