VICTORIA -- The BC SPCA has expanded its free pet food support services on Vancouver Island, particularly in northern and remote communities, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BC SPCA’s most northern branch on the island, in Campbell River, has begun offering free pet food for remote communities in the area.

“We are ensuring that food donated to our food bank program is going to animals who need it the most, including many remote communities that may not have the same access to services,” said Stephanie Arkwright, branch manager of the BC SPCA in Campbell River in a release on July 22.

Working with the charitable organization Society of Saint Vincent De Paul, the BC SPCA has been able to make pet food deliveries to communities that are approximately three hours away by car from the Campbell River branch.

Meanwhile, the BC SPCA’s Cowichan and District branch has also expanded its free pet food services.

The mid-island branch has started partnering with other community organizations, like the Harvest House Food Bank and the RCMP, to connect with pet owners in need.

The SPCA branch has also been providing local food banks with additional pet food so that pet owners can pick up the items they need more conveniently.

“If pet guardians in Cowichan need help at this time, we want them to know we are here to support them,” said Colin Owen-Flood, animal care specialist at the BC SPCA in Cowichan, in a release on July 20.

“We have been helping our local food banks meet the demand they see for pet food, so it makes it a lot easier for people to get everything they need at one food bank,” said Owen-Flood.

The BC SPCA says that more than 2,600 kilograms of dog food and nearly 1,000 kilograms of cat food have been given to those in need in the Cowichan region since the pandemic began.

In June, the BC SPCA’s Victoria branch announced that it was expanding its free “pet food bank” amid the pandemic.

Pet owners looking to receive free pet food can contact any one of these three SPCA branches to arrange contactless pick up.