Philanthropy is a key part of many pet food companies’ missions. From veterans to bees to natural disasters, here are three manufacturers doing their part in 2019 to improve the communities they serve.
1. Diamond Pet Foods: K9s on the Front Line
Diamond Pet Foods is on a mission to support veterans and their K9 companions. | Courtesy Diamond Pet Foods
“At Diamond Pet Foods, we know our success is in part due to the communities and veterans who have supported us over the years,” said John Kampeter, vice president of marketing for Diamond. “We place a high emphasis on giving back to those who make our communities stronger — on a local and national level.”
To that end, the company is a sponsor of K9s on the Front Line, a Portland, Maine-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing certified, trained service dogs to military veterans who are affected by PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and/or TBI (traumatic brain injury), at no cost to the veterans. Diamond works alongside the organization to create awareness of the importance of service dogs and the significant difference they can make in a veteran’s life. It’s a job that Kapmpeter said the company takes to heart.
“We can give your dog the fuel and the nutrition they need, but we feel it’s important to do more than just that,” he said. “Our communities are the reason for much of our success. Therefore, we feel it vital to continue to give back to those who have given us so much. As a family-owned company, we work hard to provide families with quality ingredients at a price our customers can feel good about. Pet parents shouldn’t have to compromise on quality for cost, nor should your pets be shorted. We believe that every pet and pet owner deserve the best, which is why we sponsor organizations such as K9s on the Front Line.”
2. Honey I’m Home!: spreading the word about honey bee awareness
Honey I’m Home! turns its efforts towards advocating for honey bees. | Courtesy Honey I’m Home!
In August 2019, Honey I’m Home!, which makes honey-coated, human-grade buffalo dog treats and chews, took to Instagram to advocate for one of the company’s priority causes: preserving and supporting honey bees.
“We want our partners and our consumers to know we have gone to great lengths to build a sustainable business that is good for the communities and environments it impacts,” said Lisa Momberger, CEO of Honey I’m Home!. “However, this was the first time we asked our community to be involved in spreading the word about something we find very important — the health of honey bees — and it was a great success. The excitement, authenticity, connectedness and support we saw from the people we worked with was inspiring.”
The company, a partner of nonprofit organization Planet Bee Foundation, worked with influencers who are considered trusted advisors about pet wellbeing and a sustainable lifestyle, and between August 13 and 17 (August 17 is National Honey Bee Day) more than 700,000 Instagram users were reached and educated about the health benefits of incorporating honey into a dog’s diet, as well as simple ways they can personally help honey bees thrive.
“We had such a great time working with the participating influencers and seeing the engagement between them and their followers,” said Momberger. “The topic of honey bees and their impact on our food chain really resonated with them and created strong awareness and conversation. Throughout our supply chain we focus on supporting the health of the herds, hives and homes we impact. By continuing to underscore the need for thriving hives and strong bee populations, we hope to contribute to the health of our planet overall. Our goal is to continue to raise awareness around the need for everyone to help save the bees.”
3. I and love and you: helping shelter animals in need after Hurricane Dorian
Maggie, a Potcake adopted from the Bahamas by one of I and love and you’s employees, is one of the reasons the company got involved in post-Hurricane Dorian efforts. | Courtesy I and love and you
When the Bahamas got hit by the worst of Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall on September 1, 2019, one person at I and love and you knew immediately that they were going to get the company involved.
“Betsy Vajtey, who is our manager of consumer affairs, as a passion project started our Rescue Posse and does a ‘shelter of the month’ feature every month on Facebook and Instagram, where we have people like and share and donate 2,000 meals a month to different rescues all over the United States,” said Lindsey Rabaut, vice president of marketing for I and love and you. “So [this kind of thing is] already a personal mission for her. On top of that, Maggie, [Vajtey’s] dog, is from the Humane Society of Grand Bahama (on the island of Freeport, one of the two hardest-hit islands in the Bahamas), so when she heard that Hurricane Dorian was headed their way she was in communication with the rescue even before the storm hit. That’s how she found out what they were doing to try to help the dogs and cats during the storm. It quickly flooded, but thankfully they were able to save 180 dogs and cats.”
I and love and you pulled together and gathered the needed information about where the surviving animals were and how the company could help. The animals were sent to H.A.L.O. Rescue in Florida, so that’s where I and love and you sent 40,000 meals of cat and dog food. When the cats were eventually sent on to New Jersey, the food went with them.
“Of course, now there are more animals in need — either displaced when their families had to evacuate or turned stray — and the shelters don’t have enough food or medical supplies,” said Rabaut. We want to donate more or continue helping however we can.”
The company put up a web page, www.iandloveandyou.com/donations-for-dorian, to keep interested parties apprised of the rescue’s status and provide verified ways for people to donate themselves.
“I really think that as pet food manufacturers we have a responsibility to help not only the animals that are in loving homes, but the animals that are searching for their forever homes,” said Rabaut.
Philanthropy in pet food: The importance of giving back