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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

ARL strives to lower food insecurity among pets in the metro

Food insecurity impacts Iowans and pets alike.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Food insecurity has been an ongoing problem during the pandemic, and the impacts extend to many four-legged family members. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa, a local non-profit, has been at the forefront of trying to help, but it continues to see a demand on their pet food pantry.

"We recognize people are calling every day. People are needing help every week," said Joe Stafford, director of animal services at the organization.

The organization opens the doors to its pet food pantry twice a month, and every month, they give away 5600 meals to more than 100 families.  That helps feed almost 400 animals.

"That's an astronomical number that really demonstrates the need and how families are struggling within the community, " said Stafford.

The organization says the need is even greater than that. At the start of the pandemic, the non-profit donated an average of 10,000 meals a month.  Now, they hope to be able to distribute food more often.

"It is a definite problem for people to try to keep their pets…comfortable with food and enrichment items," said Tom Colvin, CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

The organization is holding several fundraisers in December to help keep up with demand.  Meanwhile, any food that they receive goes directly to their pantry to help families in the community.