HOLDEN, Mass. — During the tough winter season, families in need from Holden and surrounding towns rely on vital help from the Wachusett Food Pantry to put food on their table, and Holden Veterinary Clinic is once again making sure their pets also have healthy food available to them.
This is the veterinary clinic's third annual holiday pet food drive and, throughout the month of December, it will be collecting small bags and canned pet food for the Wachusett Food Pantry to distribute with its regular donations.
According to Jacqueline Mercurio, the clinic's practice manager, when families are faced with financial hardship they sometimes feel they have to give up their pets because they can no longer feed them.
"So, we thought we could help people in the community, and hopefully keep their pets with them," Mercurio said.
Mercurio said families going to food pantry's often need to feed their pets as well, and sometimes give their pets leftovers rather than pet food, "which isn't 100 percent a balanced diet — but they're doing the best that they can."
The clinic will be accepting any kind of pet food for dogs, cats and other animals. Additionally this year, the clinic will be accepting canned goods for the pantry's regular distribution.
In the past few years, the clinic has received quite a bit of food, according to Mercurio, who said both years Hill's Food agreed to donate 200 pounds of additional food if the clinic's collection total reached 200 pounds.
Furthermore, Mercurio said this year everyone who donates automatically is entered to win a six-month supply of Hill’s Food. There will be two winners, one for cat food and one for dog food.
"We appreciate everybody that donates," Mercurio said. "We're just thinking of all the people out there that don't want to ask for help for their pets, as we know that people are struggling during the holidays trying to feed themselves and their pets. We want to do what we can to keep families together, which includes their pets."