A load of donated pet food, and Bailey, on the way to the Westside Community Foodbank. (Contributed Photo)

Animal Food Bank expanding into South Okanagan Similkameen

Service to Keremeos and Cawston is set to start in the next couple weeks

Pet lovers can breathe a little easier and worry a little less about taking care of their companions when times get tough.

The Okanagan’s Animal Food Bank is expanding into the Similkameen in the next few weeks as they move south from Kelowna.

The Animal Food Bank works together with local food banks, and where there aren’t any they are stepping in themselves.

READ MORE: Over 11,000 pounds of food collected for Penticton food bank

“I’ll expand out as far as somebody will be a donation location, and I can distribute the food for them,” said founder Nicole Wilks. “Right now that’s as far as Vernon. The next logical spot for me was the Southern Okanagan into Keremeos and Cawston.”

After an encounter with a homeless man in Kelowna, and his dog Odin, Wilks was inspired to establish the Animal Food Bank to help an under-represented demographic. Helping pets and their owners also helps with supporting and relieving other supports from the community and government.

“What those pets do to save the taxing of the social services system, they help with depression, they help with addiction, they provide loyalty and love and companionship,” said Wilks. “The value they add to a person is immeasurable.”

READ MORE: Animal Food Bank looking to feed Kelowna’s pets in-need

After only a few short months, the food bank has expanded well beyond the boundaries of Kelowna.

“We launched around Dec. 17 and went through 2,000 pounds of food by Christmas,” said Wilks. “I think that was a spike due to the circumstances of the season. On the average, for a month, we’ve gone through about 700 to 1,000 pounds. The need is definitely there, and that is the passion in which we expand quickly.”

Bringing the Animal Food Bank to the Similkameen has been in the works for a while, as Wilks has her own history in the region, having worked on an organics farm in Cawston for a few years. The expansion has recently picked up a boost of support with additional volunteers offering their support. One is a resident in Hedley who regularly drives into Keremeos and the other is the owner of My Dog’s Paw mobile pet salon, who regularly serves customers in the region. The expansion still requires a place to drop off the food before it is distributed.

“Because we’re dealing with a bit more of a rural area, compared to Kelowna, the model is a bit different and we haven’t worked out those details. But with so many volunteers, those details tend to come together by themselves. We love our pets, and we love other people’s pets, and we just want to help all the pets.”

The Animal Food Bank isn’t going to be stopping at Keremeos any time soon, with Princeton likely to be the next location it will serve next.

“I just had a mental health worker reach out to me from Princeton saying a lot of their clients struggle to feed themselves, let alone their pets, and that this service would be very welcomed in Princeton,” said Wilks. “So now we’re talking about how to expand it out that way too.”

More information about how to get involved through donating or volunteering is available at the Animal Food Bank’s website and Facebook page.

To report a typo, email: editor@keremeosreview.com.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Princeton high school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Bench plaque recognizes former Summerland firefighter

Volunteers with fire department set up plaque in honour of Richard Estabrooks

Penticton RCMP search for missing woman last seen near Warren Ave West

25-year-old Iesha Blomquist was reported missing to Penticton RCMP on June 30

Public shows support for alcohol in outdoor spaces: City of Penticton

City council will vote on whether to continue allowing public consumption, on Tuesday, July 7

LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland solar project

Site of proposed project has been considered for previous initiatives

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Shuswap resident spots waterspout near Salmon Arm

The rare weather event was spotted early in the morning on July 4.

Police searching for missing Lake Country man

David Anthony Jenken, 65, was reported missing Friday and was last seen on June 28

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Seymour Arm landslide interrupts drinking water to 500 people

The July 3 slide damaged a water system and a logging road.

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read