BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Dali Lama once said, "The root of happiness is altruism — the wish to be of service to others."
The Animal Food Bank of Western New York knows this to be true. Their service extends to both animals and their human family, and they were inspired by the plight of others.
Kevin Jacobi is a co-founder.
"My wife is a veterinarian, and we would have clients come in and see her, and she would notice that their animals were losing a little weight or not doing that well," Jacobi said. "And through questioning them, and found out what was going on, sometimes it would be that they had a hard time feeding that animal. So what we would end up doing is going in our back room and grabbing some food and giving it to them to take with and help them out."
Through that need, the Animal Food Bank was born.
"We just want to collect as much food as we can, and we want to deliver that food to other organizations who are involved with the community and the individuals and families that need that food," Jacobi said. "We want to help them get that food to the families that need it."
One of the Food Bank's main partners is Feed More Western New York, formerly known as Meals On Wheels. It has a program called AniMeals.
Jacobi thinks it was a perfect match.
"They were one of our first recipients," Jacobi said. "We started back in 2016, and we collected at that point about 1,200 pounds of food, and we brought all of that food here."
"We provide cat and dog food to some our Meals On Wheels who have pets, who may have struggles getting out to purchase cat or dog food, or have monetary restrictions, so we help them get that food because we realize pets are really important to our clients," said Lauren Hibit, community relations director of FeedMore WNY.
Hibit says the impact on the clients served by these programs cannot be overstated.
"Sometimes we find that our clients, because their pets are so important to them, will share their turkey, or they'll share their ham, whatever it may be, with their pet because they want to make sure their pet is fed as well," Hibit said.
Hibit added, "And we certainly don't want to take any food out of the mouths of the clients we serve, because it's so important to their health and their well being. So we want to provide that pet food so they don't have to make that difficult decision between feeding themselves and feeding their pet."
The collaboration between these two groups is yet another example of the strength of the Western New York community.
"Sometimes it can be the difference between being able to keep that pet in the home or losing them, and we really want to help out with that," Jacobi said.
"We are the city of Good Neighbors, and it's a good feeling to be able to help someone who needs help, whether it be a human or a pet," Hibit said.
To learn more about the Animal Food Bank of WNY, click here.
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