The Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter may be two hours away from John Day, Oregon where wildfires have hit hard, but that hasn’t stopped them from repeatedly taking truckloads of food to families who have been displaced.
Volunteers and board members have been working around the clock to take over 2,000 pounds of pet food to fire victims at various drop-off points and street corners. Wish lists have also popped up that include crates, leashes, beds, and other necessities.
“When we heard how bad it was, we immediately started loading up trucks last Thursday,” said Shaindel Beers, an executive board member for PAWS. “Eastern Oregon is so rural, and these little towns are so far away.”
The organization already had dog food on hand because they operate a regular program that provides food to homeless and low-income people for free. Cat food, however, was another story—after they put out a call for donations, they had $100 to spend within an hour.
PAWS still needs help to meet the needs of everyone with a furry friend who has fled the fires. At last count, 36 homes were lost, and local sources estimate that up to 3/4 of the town’s population may lose their homes.
“They need help and they’re hard working farm people who don’t want to ask for help, but you know that they need it,” she said. “People have tried to pay us for it. We say, ‘It’s not charity, it’s sharing. If it happened to us, we’d want someone to share with us. Because if we don’t help, who will?”
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