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The holidays are always a time for giving back to those in need. Food pantries receive some of their highest donations of the year, toy & coat drives are abundant and bell ringers for the Salvation Army are outside of almost every store. But there’s one important group that tends to be left out of the conversation and they’re some of our best friends…our pets! If people are in need, chances are their pets need some help too.

PAWS Chicago, a state-of-the-art no-kill shelter, is dedicated to ensuring those in need are able to keep their pets in tough times. This is a cause close to my heart since I’m a huge animal lover, occasional PAWS Chicago volunteer and owner of two adopted cats. One of my cats, Jacques, became part of my family for this exact reason. In 2008 at the height of the economic crisis, his previous owners could no longer care for him and they had no choice but to put him up for adoption.  For them, I’m sure it was the toughest decision they had to make and it’s something I hope I never have to face.

If you know someone who is facing foreclosure, unemployment or other financial crises and they have a beloved furry friend at home, they can receive help to keep their pet. Enter the PAWS Chicago Pet Food Bank. Providing pet food & supplies such as cat carriers, dog collars & leashes, cat boxes & litter, as well as vouchers so their pets can receive free spay/neuter surgeries. The Pet Food Bank is meant to provide temporary support for 3-6 months to those in need. Everything at the Pet Food Bank is provided through generous donations from the community & supporters.

How can you help? Well I’m glad you asked! The Pet Food Bank accepts donations of pet food (canned and dry) & supplies every day at the PAWS Chicago Adoption Center!

Alex Chwastek

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