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Helping pets in the pandemic: For the Love of Cats distributes pet food to families in need

Will Watts
Correspondent
For the Love of Cats founders Jan and Jim Rich at a distribution site at East Naples Community Park.

In response to the pandemic, For the Love of Cats charted a new course in 2020 by distributing over 27,000 lbs. of pet food to “keep families together” during this time with job loss and hardships for Collier County’s low-income families.

It all started in early 2020 when, as the organization called area food banks to determine the need. Founders, Jan and Jim Rich, feared the worst for pets caught in the growing crisis and mobilized pet food collection even though supplies were limited due to hoarding.

For the Love of Cats set up a distribution site at the East Naples Community Park alongside Meals of Hope to give out almost 1,000 pounds of dog and cat food weekly.

Jim Rich, from For the Love of Cats, with some of the pet food to be distributed to those in need.

Volunteers were enlisted to help repackage the large bags of dry food into smaller portions for distribution.

In June, For the Love of Cats enlisted the help of Al’s Pals, the mobile food distribution unit of Our Daily Bread on Marco Island. Allison Richards, founder of Al’s Pals, partnered with For the Love of Cats to take over the repackaging and distribution of dog and cat food throughout the low-income communities of East and South Collier County.

For the Love of Cats continues to buy dog and cat food from Tractor Supply with the help of generous donations.

“We have been helping the low-income cat owners since our beginning in 2002 with all kinds of services,” said Jan Rich, founder and president, For the Love of Cats.

Jim Rich, from For the Love of Cats, helps distribute pet food.

“Expanding to provide large amounts of pet food to help people keep their pets during this stressful year was something we just had to do. Our partnership with Al’s Pals is such a win-win for the community. Alison is amazing and her team is getting our pet food to people who really need it. We are still buying 2,400 pounds a month and will continue until this pandemic is over, whenever that happens.”

For the Love of Cats is a 501c3 non-profit organization in Marco Island, is dedicated to saving the lives of abandoned cats and kittens in the community. For more information, visit fortheloveofcatsfl.com.