A nonprofit organization in Scranton dedicated to helping sick, homeless, and hungry pets has really been able to step up over the last year, helping pets and families affected by the pandemic.
Last March, when the pandemic first started, Kevin Young, the president of PAWsitively for the Animals, reached out to Newswatch 16, desperate to spread the word.
Young was afraid that if people were losing their jobs and struggling to feed themselves, pets would go hungry, too, or even worse, not get the medical attention they need.
"We are helping the animals, but we're also helping people. These animals mean the world," Young explained.
In the 10 months since our first story aired, Young and the rest of the volunteers with the nonprofit in Scranton are feeling grateful for what they have been able to accomplish.
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In 2018, the nonprofit helped about 100 pets. In 2019 it was closer to 400. But in 2020, PAWsitively for the Animals cared for more than 1,000 animals, all with the help of grant money, fundraising, and donations of money and pet food.
"We decided one of the best ways to help the people who are struggling to feed themselves, besides feeding their pets, was go and help what's helping those people feed themselves. And that's the local food pantries," Young said.
Young and his wife deliver donated pet food to several food pantries in the area weekly, including the one at Embury United Methodist Church in Scranton.
"That $16 bag of pet food does help a lot of people."
Volunteers with the nonprofit were also able to write more grants this past year, so PAWsitively isn't just helping feed pets but helping with vet and hospital bills, too.
Young says he receives messages that say, "'They are alive because of you, thank you so much, we don't know how we can ever thank you.' Those words inspire us to continue to go and go harder and stronger and try to do more."
If you need assistance with your pet, you can fill out an application online, or you can donate through PAWsitively for the Animal's website.