When people experience food insecurity, their pets do too. PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in the country, is raising awareness of the pervasiveness of pet hunger by announcing the first-ever Pet Hunger Awareness Day on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Pet Hunger Awareness Day will be recognized annually on the last Tuesday of September moving forward.
PetSmart Charities partners with Meals on Wheels America through grants that help local programs with their efforts to deliver pet food to families such as Joyce and her rescue dog, Mystie, allowing their bond to thrive.
According to PetSmart Charities research, 30 million pets in the U.S. face hunger every year. The organization is launching Pet Hunger Awareness Day to address the disastrous consequences families in need face. This includes making the impossible choice to surrender beloved pets to already overcrowded shelters. Many pet parents in need are also compelled to give food meant for themselves to their pets instead. In fact, a new survey1 commissioned by PetSmart Charities reveals that 66% of pet parents would share some of their own food if they were struggling to feed their pet, and 83% would forgo their own meals to make sure their pet has enough to eat.
"We know that circumstances change, but that shouldn't mean that it is difficult to feed our pets. They're important family members and we believe everyone deserves the love of a pet," said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. "We're passionate about keeping pets together with their families because it's better for the health of pets and their pet parents. Lending a hand to families in their time of need helps ensure pets stay in homes where they're loved and out of shelters. We're excited to announce this special awareness day to draw attention to this issue and invite others to contribute to solutions."
Pet parents and pet lovers are encouraged to participate in a new social media campaign called the "Dinner Dance Challenge." For every photo or video posted on Instagram of your pet doing their dinner dance with the hashtag #dinnerdanceforpets between Sept. 18-26, 2023, one of our generous partners will donate $2, up to a maximum of $10,000*, to PetSmart Charities. Plus, that same partner will also match individual donations made to petsmartcharities.org up to $40,000 during the month of September.**
Feeding hope and ending pet hunger
PetSmart Charities is leading the way to help ensure pets don't go hungry by partnering with social service organizations to provide pet food to be distributed along with human food. Last year, the organization committed $9.5 million in grant support to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America for this purpose.
This year on Pet Hunger Awareness Day, PetSmart Charities is partnering with Feeding America to distribute pet food alongside human food to families in need. Feeding America affiliates and volunteers at Feeding Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay, Florida; St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix, Arizona; Food Bank of the Rockies in Denver, Colorado; and San Antonio Food Bank in San Antonio, Texas, will participate in these special pet food distribution events.
"When families are food insecure, so are their pets," said Diane Letson, vice president of food industry partnerships at Feeding America. "Pet Hunger Awareness Day shines a light on this critical issue as our thriving partnership continues to make an impact across the nation. We are grateful for partners like PetSmart Charities who share in our mission and whose contributions make a meaningful difference for neighbors facing hunger. The compassionate distribution of pet food right alongside human food at our local partner food banks ensures families and their pets are not only nourished, but they also stay together."
For more information on how PetSmart Charities is raising awareness on pet hunger and how to take part in Pet Hunger Awareness Day, visit petsmartcharities.org.
*For every photo or video posted on Instagram of your dog doing the dinner dance with the hashtag #dinnerdanceforpets between 9/18/23-9/26/26, one of our generous partners will donate $2, up to a maximum of $10,000, to PetSmart Charities.
**Valid 9/1/23-9/30/23. All donations must be made online at PetSmartCharities.org to be eligible for matching. One of our generous partners will match donations up to $40,000. Donations made on PetSmartCharities.org are not eligible for Treats points. Funds will be used to support PetSmart Charities mission.