We launched Operation Food Bowl or “OFB” in May 2008 with Reaching Out Community Services (RCS) Food Pantry Plus Program at a special monthly meeting of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, where we introduced a panel of nine experts in law enforcement, military, animal assisted therapy, and rescue to show how animals help our community and how our community can help animals. Our Executive Director’s idea for Operation Food Bowl was inspired by Catholic Relief Services’ Operation Rice Bowl.
RCS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the distribution of food and other basic items to needy families in all boroughs. Their supermarket-style, client-choice food pantry helps struggling residents, including “pet parents”, in our community. City Pitties’ pet food donations, through OFB, help people keep their pets and lower the intake rates, and thus the euthanasia rates, in our high kill city shelters (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island).
When we launched OFB, The Knights of Columbus, Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA), Animal Pantry of Dyker Heights, local veterinarians, and 5th and 3rd Avenue merchants helped us raise almost $600 to buy pet food for RCS.
OFB has since coordinated donations and arranged or provided transport of approximately $15K of pet food to date for hundreds of struggling pet owners and rescuers, building a solid relationship between our affiliated local merchants, distributors, neighbors, animal shelters and rescue groups, including Animal Care & Control of NYC, Freeport Animal Shelter, Red Hook Dog Rescue, and a dozen others throughout the boroughs and Nassau County.
Once per month dedicated City Pitties volunteers pick up dog food, cat food and treats (and sometimes bird food!) from our donors, including the NIA, and deliver the food to RCS, rescue groups, foster homes and seniors with pets in greater Bay Ridge. We are forever indebted to our friend, Interim OFB Director and Desert Storm Vet, Nancy Longerbeam for her hours of volunteerism to help us grow OFB, and to her son Will, a student at The Frank Sinatra School for his hard work at our events and spreading the word in his school.
We keep pet food pantry shelves at RCS. We believe in giving a helping paw to you if you need it until you are on your feet again, whether or not you qualify for other social programs. Perhaps you earn $100 over the poverty line according to NYC but still can’t afford a $55 bag of quality food for your dog(s) and are considering surrendering them. We understand, and we want to help. We hope that when you are able to feed your own pets again, you will consider giving back as a City Pitties OFB volunteer and/or by bringing food directly to RCS to help struggling pet owners.
Merchants, Distributors & Donors
Would you like to become an OFB sponsor? Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your information and what you would like to donate. We are particularly interested in regular in-kind food donations, i.e. monthly palettes, but also monetary donations and gift cards to pet food stores. Gift cards can be mailed to our P.O. Box.
Rescue Groups And Individuals in Need of Pet Food
Please contact us at email@example.com for application and information. OFB is NOT an entitlement program; we determine need in collaboration with RCS and provide what we can based on donations and stock.
Seeking New Volunteer Director of OFB
Tasks include, but are not limited to: recruiting and scheduling volunteers, coordinating donations of food, pick ups, deliveries, photographs, accompanying paperwork, representing City Pitties at PTA meetings and other high school events, at community events and promoting same, lifting 45lbs. or more. You must be heart and back healthy, in good physical shape. You should be comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people, especially teenagers, school faculty and administration, parents, and reporters (on camera and for print). You must have a working phone, your own vehicle or reliable public transportation, be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email and internet, a detail oriented multi-tasker, and team player. We would prefer a Brooklyn or Queens resident based on our events and sponsor and food pantry locations. Please shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Director OFB” in subject, and tell us a little bit about yourself and why you want to fill this spot on our Board. Be sure to include you name, telephone number, best time to reach you, age, neighborhood/boro. If you have pets, please let us know type(s)/breed(s). Thank you!
CALL FOR OFB VOLUNTEERS!
City Pitties is building a pool of volunteers to pick up and deliver pet food to the Reaching-Out Food Pantry. We are especially recruiting high school students and parents who have vehicles (preferably SUV, trucks, station wagons or vans) and who would commit to approximately 4 hours per day, once a month. We are seeking high school students in all boroughs to join OFB, earn volunteer credits and fulfill your community service requirement with City Pitties!
To volunteer, you must be heart and back healthy, in good physical shape, and able to lift 45 lbs. and have access to a vehicle, preferably a van, SUV, truck, or station wagon.
OFB is coming soon to Broward County!
OFB’s Generous Donors Include:
Gorick International for NutriPet
Animal Pantry of Dyker Heights