From August 1st to August 13, 2018, I ran a successful pet food drive. Thanks to my membership with Pet Sitters International, it has been possible for me to figure it out in a step-by-step manner. Pet Sitters International supports a drive called the Hungry Bowl Pet Food Drive and PSI allows members to hold a Hungry Bowl Pet Food drive of their own. Though the Hungry Bowl is for PSI members, there are a lot of pet food drive opportunities out there. You can even contact a local rescue that you love and organize a drive with them. The following is a telling of what I did in order to raise nearly 300 lbs of dry kibble, cans of food, treats, and more.


Choosing and Contacting a Pet Rescue to work with Locally in Bradenton

The first thing I did was choose a local rescue that I wanted to support. I live in Lakewood Ranch, Florida so my goal was to choose a rescue within the radius of my pet sitting business, Pup Club. I had heard good things about Little Feet, Big Heart Rescue and I saw that they had a lot of local support even though they are a smaller rescue. Jennifer, who runs Little Feet, Big Heart Rescue is such a caring woman who manages to balance a full-time day job with her busy rescue. I really felt that her efforts were worthy of receiving help to raise dog food for her rescue. When I contacted Jennifer, she was glad that I wanted to help Little Feet, Big Heart. I asked if she had any requirements for the food to be donated and she requested grain-free, unopened food and no rawhide. However, if any opened items were to be donated during the drive, they’d be donated to the Redlands Project in Miami-Dade County.


Advertising My Pet Food Drive in Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, and Sarasota

Now it was time to get going and advertise the Hungry Bowl Pet Food Drive. Pet Sitters International provides a lot of forms and tips to help you get started. The first thing I did was gather contact information for local media so that I could email a press release to them. It’s easy to find email addresses on media websites. Once I gathered contacts, I emailed them a “Letter for businesses” that was already formatted by PSI. Admittedly, I have a public relations degree but I still used theirs and filled in my own information for Pup Club. I emailed them off and heard nothing for a while.

I then created events on Facebook and Nextdoor for each drop-off location: Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Lakewood Ranch, Three Dog Bakery at University Town Center, and Pawsitively Healthy Pet Supply in Bradenton. I created separate events for all three locations and put in the range of dates the drive would be running for. I wrote up a quick summary about the drive and invited some locals on my friend’s list. I also shared my event on the Pup Club Facebook page. Make sure you tell clients, family, and friends too. I let everyone know through Facebook.


Last Minute Pet Food Drive Arrangements, Getting Interviewed by the East County Observer, and the End Results

Pet Sitters International provides a sign for donation boxes but you can always decorate your own box. I just grabbed some moving boxes from Home Depot and taped them together with shipping tape. They worked out fine!

On August 1st, Amelia Hanks from the East County Observer came out to Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming to interview their owner, Dottie and myself. I was fortunate enough that my press releases and Facebook event postings paid off. Hanks wrote an article about the drive, which I believe really helped us out. It was also posted online on the East County Observer website.

The drive ran its course and we were able to collect nearly 300 lbs of dry kibble, 18 cans of food, 8 bags/boxes of treats, which we collected from the drop off locations the day after the drive ended. We met up with Jennifer and her husband to donate the food and what a wonderful feeling. Not only are you doing something amazing but setting up a pet food drive but it’s easy and you’ll feel great for it.

Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to set up your own pet food drive and need any tips or advice.