Animal foundation seeks donations for holiday drive

November 29, 2010 5:06:28 PM PST
In an effort to relieve financial strain on pet owners, a Contra Costa County organization is collecting pet food donations this holiday season.

Animal Rescue Foundation co-founder Tony La Russa, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, will be signing autographs and accepting donations at the Alamo Safeway, 200 Alamo Plaza, from 2 to 3 p.m. today.

ARF has partnered with the Salvation Army, KTVU and Safeway to provide cat and dog food donations to Contra Costa County residents.

This year marks the second pet food drive and the drive is shaping up to be an annual event.

"We had such an overwhelming response from last year," ARF Executive Director Elena Bicker said. "We provided food to over 200 families, which served 400 pets."

Last year's take was estimated at more than 1 ton, Bicker said.

Bicker said the food is dished out based on the needs of the pets, though the goal is to provide meals through December.

"Last year we were able to cover part of January as well," Bicker said.

The food drive helps keep pet owners from having to surrender their animals due financial hardship, Bicker said.

"It's easy sometimes to forget our furry friends during the holidays," Bicker said.

Large numbers of surrendered animals could mean overcrowded shelters, she added.

La Russa helped found ARF in 1991 while he was manager of the Oakland A's. The impetus was a stray cat that wandered onto the baseball field during a game in Oakland in 1990. When La Russa tried to find a shelter for the cat, he was dismayed by a lack of no-kill shelters in the East Bay and was moved to create ARF with his wife, Elaine, according to the organization's website.

The organization is accepting wet or dry cat and dog food that is unopened and has not expired.

Donations may be dropped off at ARF's facility at 2890 Mitchell Drive in Walnut Creek from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Safeway locations in Alamo, Clayton, Danville, Lafayette and Walnut Creek are also accepting donations. For more information, visit www.arf.net.

The pet food will be distributed by the Salvation Army in Concord.

The drive will continue through Dec. 30.


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