A Toledo church aims to help the area's pets with its annual Pets in Poverty fair Sunday.
From noon to 4 p.m., the Church of St. Andrew, 3620 Heatherdowns Blvd., is to be host for the third annual event to raise awareness of pets in need of food and homes, said Rod Pierce, the church's youth director, who has been involved with the event since its beginning.
Dog and cat food and monetary donations will be collected to benefit Humane Ohio's pet-food bank, which distributes more than 7,000 pounds of food monthly to pets and families in need.
“Our goal began with no number, just the desire to collect food for pets,” Mr. Pierce said. “Then, in 2011, we shot for 1,500 pounds [and] we collected in excess of 1,700 pounds, so this year our goal is 2,000 pounds of food to be collected/received by donations from our community.”
Local animal groups will also be on hand with animals for adoption, and there will be a blessing of pets by Rev. Laura Bensman, St. Andrew's pastor. Pets are welcome to attend the event with their owners.
Adoptable dogs will be available from groups including the Lucas County dog warden, Planned Pethood, and Teddy's Rescue.
Other activites include a bounce house for children, face painting, and food. "Pet in Poverty" T-shirts will be sold, and the proceeds will be used to donate food to the Humane Ohio pet-food bank. Youth from the nonprofit organization Sheltered Reality are to perform at 3 p.m.
Church services this weekend at the church will have the themes of pets and poverty, Mr. Pierce said.
The church helps Humane Ohio in other ways throughout the year, said Jill Borkowski, Humane Ohio's marketing director.
“Our relationship started with them when they planned the first Pets in Poverty event in 2010, and it’s grown into this plus a pancake breakfast fund-raiser every April, plus last year the youth group collected a mile’s worth of pennies [over $800] and used the money to buy materials for feral cat winter shelters,” Ms. Borkowski said.
Humane Ohio, 3131 Tremainsville Rd., Toledo, is a nonprofit organization that operates a low-cost spay/neuter clinic and pet food bank. The clinic serves any pet owner in Ohio or Michigan, free-roaming-cat caretakers, animal shelters, and rescue groups. The Humane Ohio Pet Food Bank serves pet owners and free-roaming-cat caretakers in Lucas and Wood counties in Ohio and Monroe County in Michigan.
The idea for the event began in mid-2010, when the church's former pastor, Loran Miracle, attended an annual conference of the United Methodist Church. The bishop asked, "What can your church do to bridge the gap between people of poverty and your church/congregation?"
Pastor Miracle posed the question to Mr. Pierce. Coincidentally, Mr. Pierce had been laid off from a full-time job and had been struggling himself. “I had personally experienced much difficulty doing what I could to feed both myself and my dog, Snickers,” he said, recalling how he sometimes bought $1, two-patty cheeseburgers at McDonald's and gave one of the patties to his dog so both could eat.
"I thought we could organize something where we raise food for those persons of poverty, or that have fallen upon hard times, to insure their pets are fed," Mr. Pierce said. "After all they, much like I, may consider their pet to be a family member, too. We began to research, learned about Humane Ohio and their food bank, and the Pets In Poverty fair was created.”
Contact Tanya Irwin at: email@example.com or 419-724-6066.