December 26, 2012
Free pet food offer brings deluge of requests
By: Edie Lau
For The VIN News Service
The food is taken.
another testament to the reach of electronic communication, an online news
article about tons of free pet food stacked in a New York warehouse with
nowhere to go attracted a torrent of requests almost instantly, some
from as far away as Greece and Poland.
This week, if all goes as planned, 40 pallets’
worth of Pedigree, Cesar and Whiskas dog and cat food will start finding
its way to pet owners ravaged in late October by Hurricane Sandy — the
very people the food was intended for originally.
“It worked!” pronounced an elated, if weary, Dr. Brian Green.
is a veterinarian in Tarrytown, about 25 miles northeast of New York
City. After Hurricane Sandy thrashed much of the coast, Green joined
with other volunteers, including Mike and Martha Witkowski, owners of
ZipJack Custom Umbrellas in nearby Elmsford, to collect and deliver
donations of food and goods to storm victims.
donations the volunteers received were 46 pallets of pet food from an
animal rescue group in Texas. They were able to find takers for
six of the pallets — equal to about 1,500 pounds of food — but as storm
assistance poured in from all over, demand dwindled for the rest.
reached out to the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), a professional
organization with nearly 50,000 members around the world, for help in
spreading the word about the free food. VIN’s media arm, the VIN News
Service, published an article on Friday.
By Saturday, responses began filling Green’s email inbox.
“Then it hit Facebook and went viral, and I have fielded probably close to 300 emails now,” Green said Wednesday.
came from Greece and one from Poland — from rescue organizations that
apparently hadn’t thought about the cost and logistics of shipping the
food overseas, he said.
Within the United States, messages came
from 15 or 16 states, Green said, including one from a rescue
organization in Texas offering help distributing the food. It turned out
the organization was the same one that donated the food originally.
also poured into ZipJack. In the end, the storm relief volunteers were
able to connect with several organizations that said they could deliver
the food to storm victims on Staten Island, the Rockaways and Long
Island, the hardest-hit parts of the state.
“We were having so
much trouble identifying the people in need, and the organizations, they
know where it needs to go and can provide the transportation,” Green
“The happy ending is, people in desperate need are going
to get a lot of pet food,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. ... I’m
very happy to have been a part of it.”
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