The Humane Society of the United States has distributed more than $1 million in relief funding to more than 130 animal shelters, pet rescue groups and horse rescue organizations across 48 states help keep people and their pets together during the COVID-19 crisis. Two of the shelters in New Jersey and Iowa are each receiving significant grants to bolster their pet pantry programs to better address the needs of pet parents in their respective communities.

“Many families across the country are struggling to keep their pets during this difficult time and our goal is to keep them together,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “We are proud to be able to assist animal shelters in expanding their pet food banks so they can help their communities manage the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.”

The Associated Humane Society in New Jersey will receive a $15,000 COVID-19 relief grant. The pandemic has put additional strain on the Newark facility, which provides a second chance to animals, from elderly neglected dogs, cats with disabilities and survivors of abuse. The $15,000 grant will provide much-needed support to formally establish a pet pantry assistance program, which will help more pet parents throughout the city of Newark keep their pets in their homes amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“This grant could not come at a better time and we thank the HSUS for the opportunity to open the areas first ever pet food pantry,” said Ken McKeel, assistant executive director of Associated Humane Societies-Newark. “During the pandemic, sadly many people have become unemployed and now they are having to make the difficult choice of paying their bills or feeding their pets. This grant will make that decision much easier as we will be able to supply not only food to their furry family members but general medical care such as vaccines and low cost spay and neuters.”

In Iowa, The Cedar Valley Humane Society received grant funds totaling $13,500 to expand its pet food bank program. The program currently serves families across three counties to help keep pets in their homes, and COVID-19 shutdown measures greatly increased the demand for assistance. The grant funding from the HSUS will help offset the costs of pet food that will be distributed throughout eastern Iowa, including some of the areas most impacted by COVID-19. Cedar Valley Humane Society has already assisted more than 2,380 pet parents in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Cedar Valley Humane Society has seen a significant increase in the need for our Pet Food Pantry, said Jennifer Lane, marketing and development director for the Cedar Valley Humane Society. “Many families are facing financial hardships due to job loss during this pandemic and our Pet Food Pantry provides relief to these families by offering pet food so they are not forced to make the difficult choice of whether to feed themselves or their pets. The grant we received from the Humane Society of the United States enables us to keep more pets from going hungry during this crisis.”

Many of the recipients of the HSUS grants across the country used the funding to expand their pet food pantry services, while others used the funding to provide pet supplies or veterinary services to their community. Visit our interactive map to view other COVID-19 relief grant recipients across the United States. 

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