ASPCA offers free pet food for Gaston county residents

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is partnering with Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement, Gaston County Parks and Recreation and the Gaston County Police Department to give away free pet food to residents in need on May 22.

Beginning at 9 a.m., pet food will be distributed to dog and cat owners while supplies last at Dallas Park 1303 Dallas-Cherryville Highway. Visitors are asked to enter the park on Leisure Lane in front of the Citizens Resource Center and exit the park on Tandem Drive.

Proof of income is not required to receive food; however, staff will ask residents for their zip code to keep track of areas with the greatest need.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina has seen a spike in requests for food assistance.

The food bank needs funds to purchase healthy shelf stable items for food boxes. These boxes will help feed families whose children are missing school meals, seniors being asked to stay safely in their homes, those in need of food who are quarantined and employees in our community being impacted by decreases in work hours.

For the past 15 years, WSOC-TV and Second Harvest have partnered to end area hunger through the 9 Food Drive. The unforeseen effect of the coronavirus has caused significant changes to how food donations can be collected and distributed.

This year, the 9 Food Drive campaign is transitioning to a virtual food drive and will only accept online monetary donations. Funds donated will help the food bank purchase staple grocery items to continue packaging food boxes.

With the Second Harvest staff packing 2,500 boxes a week and an additional 10,000 boxes a week being packed by volunteers at the Charlotte Convention Center, the food bank will be packing tens of thousands of food boxes within the next 30 days.

Second Harvest has a donation program in place with different levels of giving. Donors can equate their monetary donation to what can be supplied by the food bank.

Here are some of the giving levels:

A donation of $7 will help provide a food backpack for children missing school meals. ​

A donation of $13 will help provide a food box of 12 to 13 healthy staple items.

A donation of $25 will help provide a seven-day nutritionally balanced food box.

Food boxes are filled with a variety of items (peanut butter for protein, cereal, fruit and vegetables). Each box varies, depending on what items the food bank can purchase.