By Christine Bryant
A local organization is working to make sure residents struggling with poverty can keep their four-legged family members.
The Sedona Grace Foundation provides dog and cat food to area food pantries, including the Mid Ohio Foodbank in Grove City, so people experiencing hard times don’t have to give up their pets because they can’t afford to feed them.
“Our mission statement is to keep pets with their families,” said Jill Cottone, who runs the nonprofit organization with her husband, Dave. “During tough times, families have to give up their pets, and with the animal shelters already maxed out, many times these family pets are put down due to overcrowding.”
She said she’s also heard of cases where people share their own food with their pets.
“What we provide is relief in that they can feed their pets, and save money for other needs,” Cottone said.
The Cottones founded the organization in February of 2011 after their beloved dog, Sedona, died. They adopted Sedona, named Gracie by Franklin County Dog Shelter volunteers, in 2004.
“Sedona was a shelter dog who was dropped off at the pound when she was 3 years old,”
Cottone said. “We couldn’t imagine having to give up a beloved pet because we had to decide between feeding them or our family.”
The adoption coordinator at the dog shelter warned the Cottones that Gracie loved treats, which is why the Cottones include dog biscuits in their Canine Care Packages they deliver to food pantries in need.
To date, the organization has delivered more than 5,000 care packages to local shelters, families and food pantries, as well as more than 200 special treat packages, 100 flea preventatives and 800 feline care packages.
“We get our pet food through businesses who want to do an outreach program and have pet food drives, churches who have pet ministries, and people who donate food left after their pets have passed away,” Cottone said. “We even have kids birthday parties supply pet food instead of giving gifts.”
The organization also counts on monetary donations to continue its journey in central Ohio.
“We deliver on Saturdays (to the Mid Ohio Foodbank), and have to cart it in through the area where the clients are waiting to shop,” she said. “They always comment about appreciating the dog food. The staff always cheers when they see us, so I know it is much appreciated.”
How you can help
Dry dog and cat food (any size bags)
Large Milk Bone biscuits
Monetary donations can be made through PayPal on the organization’s website, www.sedonagracefoundation.com, or via check made payable to Sedona Grace Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 664, Dublin, OH 43017.