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Ellen DeGeneres sponsors food drive for LI pets
When superstorm Sandy hit Long Beach, Anthony “Big Ant” Rossano said he was more worried about finding a home for the animals of Rescue Ink animal shelter than he was for himself.
“The building is still standing but everything inside the shelter is gone. We lost everything,” said Rossano. “It was a horror.”
The animals of Rescue Ink were moved temporarily to a shelter in Island Park.
On Friday, Rescue Ink and four other Long Island shelters each loaded their trucks with more than 13,000 donated meals for their animals.
“This food will go to our animals and it goes to people’s pets that are in need right now,” said Rossano. “Getting a delivery like this is helping us which means we can help them.”
Freekibble.com was launched in 2008 by then 11-year-old Mimi Ausland of Bend, Ore. Visitors to the site can answer an animal trivia question. For every answer, 10 pieces of Halo dog or cat food are donated. In 2010, DeGeneres caught wind of the site and made Halo, the pet food company she co-owns, the exclusive sponsor.
“Many of us eat our best meals during the holidays and we want shelter pets to have the same experience,” said David Yaskulka, vice president of marketing for Halo.
Rescue Ink plans to donate some of the food to families who need help taking care of their pets after superstorm Sandy.
“If they contact us and say ‘we got hit by the storm very hard and we just have no money right now,’ we’ll either deliver it or they can pick it up,” said Rossano. “The last thing they should worry about is their animals being fed.”
Employees of Pet Supplies Plus made a human assembly line as they loaded thousands of pounds of pet food from Halo’s truck to the shelter vehicles.
Almost Home animal shelter will be using the food for their Training Wheels program in Wyandanch, which encourages lower income families to spay and neuter their animals.
“A lot of times if it comes to feeding their family or their animal, the animals suffer,” said Adam McCool, a volunteer from Almost Home. “This donation will actually help feed a lot of pets of poor families and make their lives a lot better. We can’t get enough of it so this is a fantastic donation.”
“This is wonderful because after Sandy there are so many families who can’t feed themselves let alone their animals,” said Carol Meyer, a volunteer from the Long Beach Humane Society.
Rossano said he is also excited to donate the food to families in need.
“We say ‘listen, the thing that’s holding your family and animals together is food? We’ll be right over.’”