Feeding and caring for homeless pets is an expensive endeavor for any animal shelter or rescue group. After paying the veterinarian bills, pet food comes in as one of the most costly aspects of rescue. Many groups that house cats and dogs in private homes depend on the generosity of the foster families to foot the food bill. This can be a real strain when families may be struggling to feed their own children.
RPAL, a 501(c)(3), helps shelters and rescuers feed their animals when the financial going gets tough. RPAL was formed in 2007 as a traditional rescue group under the name Rescued Pet Adoption League (RPAL) . But in 2010 the organization’s purpose took an unexpected but serendipitous detour. Krista McAnally with Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake, a friend of RPAL chairman and founder, Judy Griggs, had received an extra truckload of pet food, a whopping 40,000 pounds, donated by the manufacturer. Krista called Judy to see if she could help find a place to store the bounty. Judy found space, but even between the two organizations it was far more than they could use. The two women put their heads together and decided, “Hey, let’s just give it away to the rescue/shelter community.” They did, and the Food Bank initiative/program was born. In 2010 the food bank became the exclusive focus of RPAL Rescue Food Bank. While RPAL’s original mission has changed, the philosophy hasn’t: Positive people create positive results for people and animals in need.
RPAL Pet Donation and Distribution Center is an all-volunteer organization with no benefactor and only serves the rescue and shelter community. All food and supplies provided are either free to members or there is a nominal program service fee to help offset costs associated with running the food bank. But even the fee is literally pennies on the dollars over the retail price. The nominal charge covers shipping expenses, the cost for their warehouse rental, and the cost of keeping their doors open.
RPAL is currently comprised of 102 network members from the animal welfare community in Texas. These dedicated groups care for, feed, vet, and support approximate 6,341 rescued cats, dogs and ferrets everyday while the animals await their forever homes. That equates to 4,454 pounds or $2600.00 of food needed every day! RPAL reached a milestone in March, 2012 as they passed over one million pounds of pet foods and other pet related products. RPAL expects to obtain an average of 225,000 pounds of donated food per year and purchase another $456,250 through a variety of initiatives and grants.
RPAL does not require a 501 status from member rescues. Judy Griggs and other founders realized early on that many legitimate rescuers were waiting to receive their nonprofit status. Others simply didn’t want to jump through all of the hoops a 501 requires. RPAL even assists feral cat caretakers who aren’t eligible to apply for nonprofit status. RPAL requires groups and caretakers without 501 status to provide references from a veterinarian and a network member.
Most of the donated pet food and pet supplies come directly from the manufacturers and a few distributors. The organization accepts donations from anywhere in the U.S., and will send an 18-wheeler to pick it up.
“We have logistics experience, and can get a donation here at the drop of a hat if needed,” Judy says.
Unfortunately, donations are sporadic. “Although we work at it non-stop, you just really never know when the next donation will arrive,” Judy admits.
Early on in the process of locating food donations, RPAL realized there are just not enough sources to service all the little ones in the food banks membership, so they decided to track down and purchase seconds and closeout, as well the inexpensive good quality feed to help subsidize lack of donations. They arranged with a variety of distributors to purchase foods and pet related products at wholesale prices.
While RPAL’s primary mission is to assist shelters and rescuers, they also respond with disaster relief. RPAL is listed with the Texas Animal Health Commission as a resource for pet food and medical supplies. In 2011, they assisted west and central Texas communities ravaged by wildfires plus in 2012 they helped with tornado relief. They can respond with supplies within 24 hours, if needed.
Recently RPAL moved from a location where they were squatting in the warehouse of a supporter to their own 2500 square foot warehouse in Terrell, Texas just outside the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
“We stand ready anytime we are called for help,” Judy says. During National Food Bank Week (October 14-20), you can bet on it.
To donate or for more information, call (888) 473-RPAL (7725), visitrpalrescuefoodbank.org, or email [email protected] or “Like” them on Facebook. You can support the food bank whenever you make online purchases by choosing RPAL as your AdoptAShelter.com charity and then going to your favorite e-store.
Category: Featured Shelter
About the Author (Author Profile)
communications. She also serves as vice president of the Cat Writer’s
Association. With 25 years of animal rescue under her collar, Dusty has
rescued or fostered over 1000 cats. She’s author of Kittens for Dummies
and Cat Wrangling Made Easy.
There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.