More than 800 kilograms of dry pet food and just less than 1000 cans of wet food has been shipped by the Prince Rupert Branch of the BC SPCA to Haida Gwaii in the past six months to assist pet guardians in lessening stress during hard economic times, Joe Griffiths manager of the P.R. SPCA said on Jan. 6.
The partnership between P.R. SPCA and the Greater Massett Food Bank is to ensure pet food for those affected by the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for remote communities in British Columbia due to the inaccessibility of resources as well as a need to protect residents where resources are limited Griffiths said, in a statement.
Job losses due to the pandemic have affected the population of Haida Gwaii, Leila Riddall, coordinator with the Greater Masset Food Bank, said.
“We are very reliant on tourism here on Haida Gwaii so things have been very quiet here,” Riddall said. “Most people are unemployed now unless they are essential workers. We just recently had flights return here in November and only twice per week, so we had to rely on BC Ferries and the barges for our freight until recently.”
Griffiths said the BC SPCA reached out to community groups in Haida Gwaii because they saw the impact of the coronavirus in remote areas.
“By getting the food directly to the food bank, we were able to reach people who may need support for their pets in a safe way,” Griffiths said.
Ridall said the food bank donations have been a great source of relief for low-income families who want to help their pets but are having a tougher time than usual during the pandemic. For Christmas, the SPCA assembled 70 gift bags with treats for cats and dogs which were also donated by the organization.
“Pet guardians are very thankful and often comment that they greatly appreciate the help,” Riddall said. “Their pets are also very thankful. Being in such a remote location costs are high and selection is very minimal, so the food donations help a lot.”
The Prince Rupert BC SPCA location has also been providing local community members pet food as needed, in addition to regularly distributing pet food donations to the Terrace area.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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