A community-led effort helped pet owners obtain helpful necessities for their beloved animals.
Forgotten Chances Animal Rescue, a non-profit organization founded by Pelham Parkway local Gail Neuendorf, gave away approximately 4,000 pounds of food as well as 1,000 collars and 1,000 leashes to pet owners at their fifth annual Pet Resource Fair on Saturday, August 11.
The Pet Resource Fair had been held in Eastchester Gardens since 2014, but this year took place near Pelham Parkway on Paulding Avenue.
Flea and tick medication were also available, said Neuendorf.
“I asked for help and donations and the donors are really the ones who make it happen,” she said.
The fair was co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez.
Another co-sponsor was pet-advocacy group Nobody Starves on Long Island, which donated pet supplies, said organization founder Gary Kaufman.
“The Bronx is only an hour and half away from me,” said Kaufman, who sends pet food all over the metro area where its needed. “We took a truck load of supplies.”
Donations were solicited from all over the country via social media, said Neuendorf, who added she has been a pet rescuer for 30 years.
“I just have a bunch of people donate every year for the past five years that I’ve held this event,” said Neuendorf. “It is a network of animal rescuers and animal rights advocates.”
Neuendorf’s goal is to help disabled, elderly and lower-income pet owners hang onto their animals so they don’t have to surrender them to a shelter, she said.
“I really don’t want to take animals and adopt them,” she said. “I would like to help people keep their pets. If they tell me what their needs are…we can definitely get food and supplies out to them.” Councilman Mark Gjonaj stopped by the giveaway, making a small-dollar donation to FCAR, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit.
A Fernandez spokeswoman said she helped sponsor the Pet Resource Fair by providing a monetary sponsorship that went towards a table for the event.
The assemblywoman also helped spread the word throughout the Pelham Parkway community.
“It means a lot to me that I was able to help out and provide much needed pet resources to families,” said Fernandez. “No one should be forced to give up their pet just because they fall short on supplies.”
A score of helpers made the food giveaway a success, including one group from the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development’s Summer Youth Employment Program, said Neuendorf.
Bark & Purr, a boutique pet store in Yonkers, held a food drive for the giveaway, according to Neuendorf.
John Hill Jr. of Pelham Parkway, an event volunteer, said that he donated his time because he is an animal lover.
“I think events like this keep animals out of shelters,” said Hill.
Neuendorf won’t be holding another public event in the near future, but wants to redouble her efforts with monthly giveaways of pet food to verified disabled and elderly community members in need, she said.
To learn more about the FCAR visit www.fcarb