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Advice & More April 2013

Did You Say… Food Stamps for Pets?

By Teresa Ambord

Animal shelters and pet rescues across the country have been maintaining pet food banks and helping pet owners in need for years. So while the idea is not new, calling it Pet Food Stamps puts it in a familiar frame of reference.

Everyone knows about the federal food stamp program. Yes, now there are food stamps for pet food. Before you roll your eyes and proclaim the last thing we need is yet another government handout, you should know, this is not taxpayer funded. The good folks who operate this program want the public to know it receives no government funds, nor is it seeking government funding. It is totally donation driven and funded by patrons and the kind hearts of supporters.

Pet Food Stamps, as it is called, is based in New York, but open to anyone in the United States who meets the income and need requirements. It is intended to help those who are struggling and allow people them to keep and adequately feed their pets during these tough economic times. Without some assistance some people feel forced to surrender their beloved family pets because of what may be a temporary hardship, said the founders of Pet Food Stamps.

 

Who Qualifies?

Eligible applicants will undergo a verification of income and need. Once approved, they can receive pet food from Pet Food Direct, a pet food retailer, for a period of six months. Generally speaking, anyone who is now receiving regular food stamps, is on public assistance, or is at or near the federal poverty level should be eligible. Within two weeks of the announcement of this program more than 45,000 new pets were signed up, said founder and executive director, Marc Okon.

While you may never have heard of a program like Pet Food Stamps before, Okon said it is not revolutionary. Animal shelters and pet rescues across the country have been maintaining pet food banks and helping pet owners in need for years. So while the idea is not new, calling it Pet Food Stamps puts it in a familiar frame of reference.

 

Patience Please!

Pet Food Stamps wants those interested in applying to know that, with national media attention focused on them lately, they have been inundated with applications. If you apply and do not hear anything, don’t worry, and don’t apply again. Remember, this is a group of like-minded, generous folks who see a need and are doing their best to fill it without the over-regulation of the federal government. In other words… please be patient! This organization is doing a great thing, and great things take time.

 

What Happens After a Person Signs Up?

Once an applicant is determined to qualify, he or she is approved for a specific amount of food depending on the number and type of pets. Then an order for that amount of pet food is sent to PetFlow.com. PetFlow.com is an independent online retailer and is the exclusive provider of pet food for the Pet Food Stamp program. Approved members receive shipments directly to their homes, free of charge, and free of shipping fees.

What if your pet is on a special diet? PetFlow.com carries over 200 brands of pet products, including many special diet foods.

Pet Food Stamps mostly serves cats and dogs, but they do also have some food for other small pets, like rabbits and guinea pigs.

Non-members can also purchase discounted pet food from www.PetFlow.com and receive regular shipments to their homes.

Currently to sign up you must fill out an online application at https://petfoodstamps.org, though in the future Okon said, they hope to be able to receive snail mail applications as well.

 

Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

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