KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An urgent need for pet food has been issued by the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee.

The popular Feed-A-Pet program that provides food to low-income families is in short supply. The program needs dry dog food and cat food, and lots of it.

Monica Brown showed WATE the near-empty storage unit where the Community Action Committee keeps its supply of pet food delivered to needy adults who own cats and dogs. Not too long ago, the pod was stacked full, but not now.

“We need more food. We have some specifics of food that we need lots of. We just need more food, we need to fill this pod with pet food,” Brown said.

In the storage bin, there was only one bag of cat food. As for dog food, there’s been a recent huge increase in demand.

“And so now, I’m not sure we’ll have enough to feed our pets,” said Brown. “About 19 pounds of food go out each month to our clients. Right now, we looking at, I would guess, about 500 pounds of food. That may be half a month of food.”

Judy, a widow who lives on a tight budget, depends on her free monthly supply of dog food for her six-year-old pet Hazel.

“I am on a limited income. But with the Feed-A-Pet program, I don’t have to worry because I know it’s the first of the month, whether I have anything left or not, she is going to be fed,” said Judy.

“Right now we have 96 clients and they own 161 pets that we help feed each month,” said Brown. “You’re talking about for this 7 to 8-pound bag, you are talking about $15 to $17. But if you are a senior that is on a limited income and you get $800 a month. You have to pay your rent, you have to pay your utilities. You have to pay for all those things. But pet food may be something you can’t afford.”

The Feed-A-Pet program depends solely on community donations. CAC does not buy the food.

“Please donate. We need the food,” said Brown.

The Feed-A-Pet program began in 2001 after volunteers who delivered mobile meals came back reporting that many people were feeding their cats and dogs the human food that had been dropped off.

If you would like to donate food, either visit the Community Action Committee’s website or call 865 546 3500. If you can donate, consider buying bags weighing less than 10 pounds, because some of the people who receive the food are unable to lift heavy items. Pet food can also be dropped off at the following locations.

  • CAC Ross Building: 2247 Western Avenue 37921
  • Asheville Highway Animal Hospital: 4516 Asheville Hwy
  • Forest Park Animal Clinic: 318 N. Forest Park Blvd 37919
  • Dogwood Animal Clinic: 5900 Chapman Hwy 37920

The Feed-A-Pet program is one of two programs for seniors with pets run by the Knoxville-Knox County CAC. The second program is Knox PAWS (Placing Animals With Seniors) which matches eligible seniors with adoptable pets.