by Julie Robinson
Many of you probably adopted your dog from a small rescue group. But you may not have realized that the group that cared for your pup before you adopted it was a volunteer-run organization relying on the support of people like you to keep the rescue efforts going. Now there’s a great way to help all of those smalltime rescue groups so they can keep on finding forever homes for deserving dogs. The Rescue BankSM is Houston’s only “food bank” for animal rescue groups.
One of the founders, John Kane, first saw the need for a rescue bank after helping Tylertown’s Best Friends shelter during the Katrina crisis. He coordinated the work and resources of volunteers that arrived in New Orleans from across the country. His experience there showed him just how much work is done by small rescue groups and how limited their resources are. In June 2006, he and co-founder Elizabeth Asher established the bank to relieve some of the costs and concerns of those groups.
The Rescue BankSM collects donated food and supplies, then redistributes them to nonprofit rescue organizations. It operates similarly to the Houston Food Bank, one of its biggest contributors. The Best Friends shelter provided the first major donation. Donations are received from businesses like grocery stores and pet supply stores, as well as from individuals like you. Any non-profit rescue group can request to be on the distribution list, and the amount of food and supplies given to a group is determined by its size and needs. Volunteers from each group then pick the goods up directly from the bank’s warehouse. Last year, it was able to provide a quarter of a million pounds of pet food to about forty-five rescue groups. That kind of help makes a big difference to groups who are kept going by generous volunteers! Just like the groups it services, the bank depends entirely on volunteers and donations.
While pet food makes up a large part of the contributions, the Rescue BankSM provides other much-needed supplies like crates, leashes, flea treatment, washing machines and veterinary equipment. It also supports a grant program that collects money for spaying and neutering, which is an enormous help to the rescue groups and the community alike.
You can help! Donations of food and new or used supplies are essential. Monetary contributions may be given, and if you want, you can specify that it be used for a particular purpose, like a neuter grant, or that it be used for a particular group listed on the Rescue BankSM website. Of course, volunteers are always needed. E-mail email@example.com to find out what you can do as a volunteer.
Another very important way that you can help is to open your home to a foster dog. Dedicated foster families are vital to rescue organizations. If you can care for a dog who’s still waiting to find its forever home, contact Rescue BankSM today.