ASPCA opens by appointment pet food pantry in NYC during coronavirus crisis

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Help is here for New Yorkers struggling to meet the basic needs of their pets during the coronavirus crisis.

“The message we want to tell pet parents is that we are here for them,” ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker told 1010 WINS. “During times of crisis it’s really important that people are able to keep their pets for the psychological benefit, the companionship, the joy, the love, the stress relief that comes from having an animal.”

(Photo: ASPCA)

To that end, as part of its $5 million COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Initiative, the ASPCA has established a pet food distribution center in New York City in partnership with the Petco FoundationBlue Buffalo, and PetSmart Charities. The center will provide New York City dog and cat owners free access to crucial food and supplies, including kitty litter.

To keep in line with social distancing guidelines, food and supplies will be available by appointment only. Pet owners should call the ASPCA Pet Food Distribution Helpline at (800)738-9437 for more information and to request an appointment. This includes dog and cat supplies only, and distribution is subject to eligibility and availability.

Please note:

  • Open to residents of New York City
  • No same-day appointments.
  • One hour window for pick-up.
  • Please bring a photo ID.
  • Be prepared to carry supplies.
  • Transport not provided.
  • Do not bring more than 2 people.
  • Do not bring pets.
  • Do not arrive early.
  • Call the hotline if you are running late.
  • Please do not come if you are symptomatic. You may send a different family member in your place.

The pet food distribution is half of a two pronged initiative that will operate in several cities in New York, California, Florida and North Carolina and also earmarks $2 million in grants to animal shelters in critical need of funds. “The biggest concern we have is the economic uncertainty,” said Bershadker, “… will donors continue to be able to support shelters in the long run and will shelters be able to deliver on their life saving mission.”

(Photo: ASPCA)

The ASPCA’s shelter on Manhattan’s upper east side is currently closed to the public to ensure the health and safety of their staff and the community, but like with many other shelters, folks have stepped up to foster dozens of animals in their care. In fact, Bershadker told 1010 WINS they’ve seen a 70 percent increase in foster volunteers during this time and they’re ready — right now — to facilitate adoptions of those animals to fosters, their families, friends and neighbors.

They also continue to operate their partnership with the NYPD, caring for animals rescued from cruelty cases and other circumstances, as well serving critical cases at the Bergh Animal Hospital and maintaining their Bronx Community Veterinary Center. Bershadker notes that starting April 6th, the ASPCA’s kitten nursery will open for what’s known as kitten season, when Animal Care Centers of New York is overrun with cats and kittens during the warmer months.  They will be looking for even more fosters then, and you can get that information HERE.