Island seniors deliver free pet food during pandemic
VICTORIA -- Megan couldn’t be more concerned about the coronavirus, especially with her young son Lee’s asthmatic lungs.
“It’s been hard,” Megan says. “He was in the hospital at the beginning of December because he had a respiratory virus.”
She shows me a picture of Lee smiling triumphantly from his hospital bed. It was taken after the tubes, IV, and heart-monitor were removed — after the two-year-old won the battle to breath.
“Just the unknown makes you have a lot of anxiety,” Megan admits.
The coronavirus has also caused Megan to lose the income that paid for her family’s food — including their five pets — like Smokey the cat who needs specialty-food to survive.
“It’s harder for people to go out and get it,” Megan says. “Because it’s so expensive.”
Richard says he can empathize with Megan’s situation. The senior tells me that when he was in his 40’s he was broke, living in a garage, and choosing to feed his dog before himself.
“When you’ve got kids and you’ve got pets you put yourself way down that [priority] ladder,” Richard says.
Decades later, Richard and his wife started delivering pet food — donated from local businesses — to local shelters. But, since the arrival of COVID-19, accessing the shelters has been a challenge.
Richard was concerned about the food going bad, so he shared his e-mail on social media (firstname.lastname@example.org) and started offering it for free to anybody in need. Richard says he and his wife have delivered individually wrapped food to more than 150 people so far.
“It’s been 16 to 18-hour days,” Richard says. “I had about four hours of sleep last night.”
Richard says its worth the work because he will never forget the feeling of being so broke that he had to sell an old truck bumper for cash.
“[The buyer] gave me more and I said I didn’t have change. He said don’t worry about it,” Richard takes a moment to contain his emotions, before saying it’s one of the most memorable moments of his life.
“There’s no such think as small kindness. Just kindness.”
Smokey the special needs cat will likely not recall the moment Richard delivered the specialty food to their doorstep — but Megan no doubt will.
“It’s creating one less thing to worry about in this situation,” Megan says. “It’s a really blessing in the community for them to do this.”