For years, the Southern Arizona Animal Food Bank has gathered food for pets as far as Nogales, Benson and Sahuarita. But this May, the local nonprofit is hosting a food drive at multiple locations throughout Oro Valley for cats and dogs.
From Wednesday, May 12, to Friday, May 14, the Oro Valley Town Hall, Oro Valley Police Department and Tucson Local Media office will serve as donation drop-offs for the Southern Arizona Animal Food Bank. The food bank says they need dog and cat food (both wet and dry); animal boots for the summer; slightly used beds, collars, leashes, toys and bowls; blankets and towels; animal treats and more.
With lowered COVID cases, the Southern Arizona Animal Food Bank reports an increase in recent donations. However, there is still much work to be done after more than a year of economic hardship from the pandemic. Whereas they used to receive a dozen requests per month from people looking for pet supplies, they can now see that number in a day.
“What we do is help those who have to make a choice of whether they feed their families or animals,” said Donna DeConcini, director of the Southern Arizona Animal Food Bank. “Especially since the pandemic, everybody’s really been feeling the lack of jobs and money. And having to make that choice is unacceptable to me.”
The Southern Arizona Animal Food Bank dates back to 2014, when DeConcini and her daughter helped with abandoned farm and ranch animals. The work turned into the Southern Arizona Animal Food Bank, which has gathered tens of thousands of pounds of pet food in its time. Originally based out of DeConcini’s driveway, the food bank moved to a designated location “Artists for Animals” store in Monterey Village off Speedway.
Since moving to brick-and-mortar in 2020,
DeConcini estimates they have collected 13,000 pounds of animal food. While the focus is on animal food, DeConcini says the food bank works with other local nonprofits, such as Friends of Pima Animal Care Center and Gospel Rescue Mission, when donations they receive might work better elsewhere.
“They give us their animal food, and in return, we give them household items and furniture that someone might have dropped off. Nothing goes to waste. We try to keep everything circulating within the community,” DeConcini said. “We have an incredible staff of volunteers that come and will drive to people that are not able to get out of the house.”
Though the food bank is focused on helping animals in need, they do not rescue or take in animals. At food drives like these, the bank can see 1,000 pounds donated.
DeConcini says their most successful food drive resulted in 2,000 pounds of food donated.
“Now, we don’t even put an estimation of how much we’d like to get, because anything that comes to us is a blessing and helps us with the outreach that we have,” DeConcini said. “We’ve been so fortunate and so thankful for the amount of food we’ve been able to get. It’s been overwhelming, but we’ve kept up with it. Whenever we’ve asked for help, we’ve gotten help, and it comes through for the community.”
This Oro Valley drive was inspired by food bank volunteer Lisa Norman. In speaking with the police department, DeConcini was informed they’ll need “a big truck” for all the planned donations.
“I’ve found that those who can give, give plenty. And those who are not able to go out and buy animal food to donate, have been doing monetary donations. Thanks to both of these, we’ve been able to maintain a level of food, but if we run out we can go buy more,” DeConcini said. “People have been so gracious.”
Oro Valley Animal Food Drive benefiting the Southern Arizona Animal Food Bank
Wednesday, May 12 through Friday, May 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Donations accepted at:
Oro Valley Town Hall/Oro Valley Police Department
11000 N. La Cañada Drive
7225 N. Mona Lisa Road, #125, saafb.org