Pet food bank in Bedfordshire goes "bonkers" in six months

pet Food Bank
Maggie Davies

A woman who started a food bank for pets said it had gone “bonkers” as so many people needed its help due to the cost of living crisis.

BBC News reports that Denise Harris, from Ridgmont in Bedfordshire, said she started Helping Hands Animal Food Bank, for local people and it had grown “far and wide”.

Donated items are handed out on “trust” through its Facebook page. “We’re here for everybody; we don’t judge; if you need help, just pop a message onto the group,” she added. She said she started the service on social media after seeing a woman on television explaining she had to give up two beloved pets because she could no longer afford to feed them.

Ms Harris, who has 14 rescue dogs, said she thought “this isn’t right – I’ve got to do something”. Denise started the group in September “asking people if they could donate food, and for people who were struggling to contact me for help”. “There’s no shame in asking for help and it all went a bit bonkers,” she said. She said she would rather people asked her for help, than give up on their animals as “shelters are bursting at the seams – they can’t take any more pets”.

Michelle Connelly, from nearby Marston Moretaine, who received food for her seven cats, said: “They’re an amazing charity who helped me when I really needed it, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. “With the cost of living the pet food bank has been a lifeline, and I had been going without food myself to feed my animals.”

Ms Harris said she had so many donations, items have had to be stored at her two daughters’ homes and the local pub. “I never know what I’m going to wake up to on my doorstep; my dogs think it’s Christmas,” she said. The reaction spurred her daughter, Charlotte Harris to create an off-shoot group five miles away in Maulden. “Initially it started for local people, but it’s now for people far and wide needing help – in Luton, Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Bletchley,” said Denise. “Tell us how many animals you’ve got, what they are, what they like to eat. “I hope everyone is genuine, we have to trust them.” All goods need to be collected because they do not make deliveries.

(Story source: BBC News)

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