“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
A Message From Our Founder
In November of 2019, I was walking through a parking lot in downtown Kelowna and met a homeless man and his dog Oden. Naturally, I asked him if I could pet his dog — there is never a dog I don’t want to meet and this was no exception. We struck up a brief conversation and they went on their way. He and his dog were both so lovely.
I went home that night and couldn’t sleep. I wondered, how did this man feed his dog? So the next morning I began researching the subject only to find that the supports for the homeless with pets are few and far between, from shelters that accommodate them, to programs that support them like transitional housing, to support from the community itself. There are many reasons why people find themselves in a situation where they can’t cover the bare necessities or a roof over their head. But it can be difficult for even people with the best of intentions to understand why someone would still choose to have a pet.
We want to work to end that stigma.
All pet lovers know first hand how important our pets are to us and our families. We wouldn’t trade the, love, purpose, companionship, and acceptance they provide for anything in the world. That is ten fold for people with low income, no income and anyone experiencing homlessness. Much the same with low-income individuals and families, or folks that have just fallen on hard times (maybe they lost their job, have been laid off, have had a large unexpected expense come up). Pets are often the only being that has loved them unconditionally. And for many, their pet is their family and the one thing they have in their daily life that helps them work towards rebuilding their lives. Often times they will feed their pets before they feed themselves.
We don’t want anyone to have to make that choice.
We don’t want any family to be in a position where they have to surrender their pet because they can’t afford to care for them. Pets provide our lives with so much and expect so little in return. The least we can do is help make sure the furry family members have a meal too.
Originally founded in Kelowna, BC, the Animal Food Bank aims to become a national organization promoting the sharing of resources and knowledge, and promoting collaboration between organizations working to feed and shelter the homeless and their pets, and low-income individuals, house them, and help change their circumstances.
Our organization aims to help fill gaps where we find them, and collaborate and support existing organizations. We hope to create a nationwide network of support for each other, and people in need with their pets, from food, to supplies, to vet care, to housing. We have big aspirations.
If you, or someone you know, needs our help please visit our Get Help page for further information.
Nicole Wilks Co-Founder
I’ve been an animal lover my entire life and I’ve been involved in dog rescue for about ten years. I see first hand the long hours of rescue, the plight of a continual shortage of resources for a seemingly never-ending problem. And I’ve seen the lack of cooperation between organizations, lack of sharing of resources and lack of communication.
My dream is to create a national organization that unites the efforts of rescues, shelters, food banks and resources, and that promotes collaboration, communication, trust and a united effort to alleviate homelessness and poverty in both pets and humans.
We are just getting started.
Alexandra TurnerMedia Relations & Public Awareness Manager