PetSmart Charities donates 38,000 pounds of pet food to help Northeast Florida families with pets

PetSmart Charities donates 38,000 pounds of pet food to help Northeast Florida families with pets

Local charity, Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEFL), recently received more than 38,000 pounds of pet food donated by PetSmart Charities. This is one of the largest single donations ever received by the nonprofit organization, to help families with pets who may be in need. Because of FNEFL’s widespread regional network, the donated pet food has helped needy families with pets throughout the extensive range of Jacksonville and surrounding communities.

Part of the donation was 26,600 pounds of dog food distributed through FNEFL’s mobile pantry food distribution events held at churches and other various sites in six counties: Bradford, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns. Another 11,400 pounds of cat food went to the local nonprofit, First Coast No More Homeless Pets, low-cost veterinary clinic and hospital, to stock their pet food bank. Their pet food bank donates supplies to help families who adopt homeless pets.

By working together, PetSmart Charities and Feeding Northeast Florida, the local partner of Feeding America, have been able to distribute free pet food along with traditional pantry staples at community events. One recent distribution event was held on Thursday, September 23rd at the Rolling Hills Baptist Church, 840 Permento Avenue in Jacksonville. Feeding Northeast Florida reported an overwhelming response to the availability of donated pet food at the community distribution events, where supplies have quickly run out.

“In Northeast Florida, nearly 240,000 individuals (1 in 7), are struggling with basic needs, including putting food on the table or in their pet’s bowl. In fact pet food is one of the highest requested non-food items at our pantries, along with diapers and toilet paper,” Sarah Hall said. “These items cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits, leaving many of our clients with the impossible decision to either feed their family or their family pet. Of the clients we serve, 18% are seniors, 13% are disabled, 10% are veterans, 32% are children and 27% are others outside of those categories.” Hall is Feeding Northeast Florida’s Director of Strategic Initiatives.

Feeding Northeast Florida’s food bank saw a 129% increase in people served during 2020 and they are on track to distribute more than double the amount of food provided to the community pre-pandemic. They know that pet owners are struggling and are often forced to make the difficult choice between food for themselves or their beloved pets. Most distributions are conducted by drive-thru model for the health and safety of volunteers, partners and clients during this time when extra health precautions are required.

PetSmart Charities has donated a total of more than 145,000 pounds of high-quality pet food to Feeding Northeast Florida to date, and more than 12 million pounds to the organization’s other affiliates across the U.S.  PetSmart Charities also makes cash grants to help supply pet food to Meals on Wheels’ member organizations across the country. They know that pets are often the only companionship senior citizens have and therefore, it is critically important that both seniors and their pets have enough food.

The latest donation of pet food to Feeding Northeast Florida is part of PetSmart Charities $10 million commitment to support pets and families through 2021, a year that has recorded approximately 42 million people struggling to put food on the table during the pandemic. That record-breaking statistic also impacted pets belonging to affected families, and that is the the reason PetSmart Charities formed a partnership with the nonprofit organization, Feeding America. The Feeding America Network is the largest domestic, hunger –relief organization in the U.S.  It holds the Charity Navigator Four Star Rating. Charity Navigator is an independent charity evaluator.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly one in four households across the U.S. faced food insecurity. According to Feeding America, in 2020, as a direct result of the pandemic, more than 50 million Americans are believed to have faced hunger.  Despite the national attention to food insecurity, pet food insecurity is another, more hidden crisis, that is just beneath the surface, but equally devastating to pet owners.

“Food insecurity is at an all-time high for families due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and historically we’ve seen many stories about pet parents in need, who sacrifice to feed their pets before they feed themselves,” said Aimee Gilbreath, PetSmart Charities President.  “We are proud to make this commitment to provide much-needed pet food to families across the U.S., ultimately helping keep pets and people together during this challenging time.”

PetSmart Charities has also kicked off its donation drive in PetSmart stores and online at, to encourage customer donations to help combat food insecurity and other needs. The overall goal is to keep people and their pets together.

PetSmart Charities is also committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by support programs and leadership that will bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart stores in the U.S and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 600,000 shelter pets each year.  PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to nonprofits aligned with its mission.

Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting nearly $430 million since its inception in 1994.

PetSmart Charities has received the Charity Navigator Four-Star Rating for seventeen years in a row, placing it in the top one percent of charities rated by the organization. To learn more about PetSmart Charities or to make a donation visit:

Feeding Northeast Florida (FNF) is on a mission to solve hunger in Northeast Florida by connecting existing resources with food donations. They work with retail partners, manufacturers, farms and diverse donors to rescue high-quality food that would normally be wasted and transform it into meals for those in need. Because of donations and other support, they are also able to purchase additional food and resources to meet the needs of Northeast Florida families and individuals who struggle to feed themselves or their families.
They particularly focus efforts on outreach to families, children, seniors and veterans.

For more information, to volunteer or donate, go to

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