Township hosts pet food drive to help pet owners

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 23, 2016

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Shelby Township will collect donations of canned pet food, sealed bags of dry pet food and pet food coupons through Sept. 16 to give relief to low-income senior pet owners.

The initiative kicked off when township employees heard from Meals on Wheels volunteers that seniors living in Macomb County-subsidized senior housing complexes were sharing delivered meals with their furry companions.

For many senior citizens, a cat or dog is their closest companion. The Macomb Food Program recently began a program to deliver fresh food to low-income, subsidized senior citizen housing complexes in the county, including seven that allow pets, but there is no program to help feed their pets.

“It’s hard to see some of these folks just struggling,” said Marcia Weredick, an appraiser in the Shelby Township Assessing Department and the pet food drive liaison.

Within the seven complexes, there are 157 cats and 112 dogs cared for by senior citizens self-identified as low income, according to a township press release.

Karyn Schaffner, the Shelby Township general employee union president and a Clerk’s Office employee, said her hope is to provide those seniors with a meal for their pets with their own lunches.

“And if we collect enough food, we can expand on the program and supply a pantry,” Schaffner said in a statement.

Shelby Township employees partnered with Pet Supplies Plus in Clinton Township, Purina, Mars Corp., the Macomb Food Program and 4 Paws 1 Heart — a local nonprofit organization that funds medical treatment for in-need animals — to organize the pet food drive.

“Our employees take a great deal of pride in our community and are always willing to step up and help their neighbors when they find there is a need in the community,” Supervisor Rick Stathakis said in a statement.

Donation locations can be found at the Shelby Township municipal building, 52700 Van Dyke Ave.; the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center, 4101 River Bends Drive; the Shelby Township Police Department, 52530 Van Dyke Ave.; the Shelby Township Department of Public Works, 6333 23 Mile Road; and the Shelby Township Senior Center, 51670 Van Dyke Ave.

For more information, call the Shelby Township Supervisor’s Office at (586) 731-5154 or contact 4 Paws 1 Heart President Diana Rascano at www.4paws1heart.org.