Food bank brings tender care to Downtown Eastside pets

Santa poses with a young pooch at the B.C. SPCA and Charlie’s food bank’s annual Christmas event in the Downtown Eastside. [PNG Merlin Archive]

Submitted: B.C. SPCA / PNG

Billions of children and nine reindeer keep Santa busy every Christmas but he never forgets the cats and dogs of the Downtown Eastside.

Since 2000, the B.C. SPCA and Charlie’s pet food bank have provided food, supplies and tender care to help low-income residents of the Vancouver neighbourhood look after their furry loved ones.

The food bank — held in Jacob’s Well at 543 Powell St. — was named after a starving dog that came into the B.C. SPCA’s animal hospital in critical condition and died three weeks later.

“It started out as a small enterprise and it’s really grown over the years,” said B.C. SPCA spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk.

“It’s really about making sure people who maybe don’t have the same resources as others but really love their pets are able to provide for their pets.”

For Christmas, the food bank holds a special event (it was on Dec. 19 this year) but it also opens its doors every Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. It runs a free veterinarian clinic on the last Thursday of each month. About 200 people come by for food and supplies each week.

Chortyk said the Christmas food bank makes a difference because visitors can bring their cats and dogs for a photo with Santa and receive pet food, leashes, toys and bedding.

Veterinarians volunteer their time, running a free clinic where they provided vaccinations, exams and pet care tips for each cat or dog’s needs.

“It’s really fun to see how much joy people get out of having their pets’ photo taken with Santa,” Chortyk said.

“Anyone who has a pet knows how much joy they bring into our lives and so to help these people just have a merrier Christmas with their pets, it’s really a good feeling.”

Chortyk said the B.C. SPCA is grateful for any donations of food or supplies to its Vancouver branch. Cash donations can be made at any branch.



CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email vantips@postmedia.com

Show More
Back to top button