Michigan Humane Society handing out food from its pet pantry program

The Michigan Humane Society is stepping up to feed our pets during this challenging time. 

Their pet pantry handing out hundreds of thousands of pounds of food for the dogs and cats of families in need.

"We're seeing such an increased demand, up to 100 new families each week we're seeing come to us for help with our pet pantry," says Matt Pepper, the executive director of the Michigan Humane Society.

While so much is closed due to quarantine, he says their services are in demand now more than ever. Cars were lined up around the block at their drive-up pet pantry just last week.

"In 2019 we distributed a little over 400,000 lbs. of dog and cat food to citizens in southeast Michigan and Detroit. In the first two months of this crisis we've given out more than 300,000 lbs.," Pepper says. "Every kid - every family - deserves the joy and the companionship that comes from pet ownership, and it's our job to help support people in this community who do struggle with poverty."

With more than 1.3 million people unemployed in Michigan, the Humane Society anticipates far more people needing help to feed their families and their pets. But there is another need as well - these shelter animals need homes, too.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the Humane Society posts adoptable pets on their Facebook page, from dogs to cats and kittens, to guinea pigs and even pet rats.

"If you think about the impact of social isolation on our lives, the anxiety, the depression that comes with it, pets can add a lot to help us through that time," Pepper says.

He says hundreds of people became foster families right before the lockdown happened.

"I was absolutely humbled and inspired by the response from the community. We got more than 430 animals into foster care in just under a two-week span."

Hopefully, most of those fosters will become permanent homes but the animals who do need to be adopted are being paired virtually and introduced with as little contact between humans as possible.

Pepper encourages people to consider adopting or donating but is also asking that you have a plan for your pet in case you get sick with COVID-19. 

"Have a plan. Have a friend or family member who can take care of your dog. We're a great shelter environment, we're a resource for this community but the best place for a pet  is right in the home."

The pet pantry is at 6175 Trumbull and is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 9 a.m. - noon. 

For more information, visit the Michigan Humane Society or call at 1-866-MHUMANE (866-648-6263). You can get more information on the pet pantry program here