Two ways to fill hungry bellies, save lives this season

I usually reserve Mondays for posts about organizations and events helping the people and pets of Austin. But this time I’m making an exception because the causes are too good and the need is too great to wait even a few more days.

stuff the bus logo 2014

Stuff the Bus 

Capital Metro and Whole Foods are working to bring 30,000 much needed meals to hungry families in the Austin area, and they need your help to cram those buses full of tasty, healthy food.

Here’s the deal, in their own words because I couldn’t say it better if I tried:

This holiday season, Capital Metro, Whole Foods Market and the Capital Area Food Bank work in unison to help feed hungry Central Texans by hosting the 3rd Annual “Stuff the Bus” food drive Dec. 12-14!  Help us fill 2 entire Capital Metro buses with food to provide 30,000 meals for families in need. Donate non-perishable food items at any Central Texas Whole Foods Market store Dec. 12-14!

Three ways to participate: 

  • Bring your donations from home: Drop-off at any in-store collection bin OR take donations straight to the two buses parked at the Downtown and Domain stores!
  • Visit Whole Foods Market Dec. 12-14 and fill a brown bag with non-perishable items OR purchase pre-packed brown bags at the Downtown store.
  • Add a donation dollar amount to your final in-store purchase total at the register.

Bus Collection Sites: Open Dec. 12-14 | 10 am – 6 pm 

  • Whole Foods Market Downtown: 525 N Lamar Blvd.
  • Whole Foods Market Domain: 11920 Domain Drive

All proceed benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. 

Of course, all food needs to be in its orginal, sealed packaging. And only non-perishable foods can be accepted. It’s so simple to add a few cans and boxes of food to your next shopping trip or two, or buy one of the prepackaged food bags at Whole Foods and they’ll take care of getting it on tables that might otherwise be empty.
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And lest pet-friendly Austin neglects its beloved furry citizens, there is another awesome campaign running to keep dog and cat bowls filled.

Pound for Pound Food Drive

The Pound for Pound Food Drive

Tomlinson pet food has launched their annual double-the-donations food drive to benefit homeless pets and rescue groups throughout Austin. Here’s how it works, in their own words:

“Our annual food drive for local animal rescues is on. From Black Friday to Christmas Eve, all food donations made will be DOUBLED–pound for pound.
Here’s how you can help:

  1. Drop by any Tomlinson’s location.  (There are nine locations around Austin.)
  2. Upon checkout, donate a small, medium, or large bag of pet food.
  3. Check a box for the rescue to which you would like your donation to go.

After Dec. 24, we will collect your donations–doubled by our generous vendors–and distribute them to your choice of the following rescues:

Austin Boxer Rescue
Austin Dog Rescue
Austin Siamese Rescue
Animal Trustees 4Paws
Bastrop Animal Shelter
Blue Dog Rescue
Canyon Lake Animal Shelter
Central Texas SPCA
Diamond Dachshund Rescue
Greyhound Rescue Central TX
Love-A-Bull
Pawsitive Karma
Pug Rescue of Austin
San Antonio Dusty Paws
TX Great Pyrenees
TX Humane Heroes
Texas Sweeties
Thundering Paws
Wags, Hope, & Healing
Wee Rescue

Their goal? To provide 100,000 of pet food. That’s enough to feed 400 homeless dogs for all of 2015!

So now you see why I couldn’t wait until Monday to share this information!  We all need to help get the word out, too. Won’t you please share this post or the information in it with everyone you know in Austin? Hungry people and pets are counting on you to keep their tummies full.

Pass it on, please!

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It’s Puppies! Austin Dog Rescue on Make a Difference Monday

Lindsay and a PuppyAustin Dog Rescue and a puppy to hug…gotta love it!

Over the past few days, Austin Dog Rescue has been offering a Puppy Kissing Booth in honor of Valentine’s Day. It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday (raise your hand if your pets give you more love than most people!), and a fun way to show off the puppies looking for their forever homes in Austin.

Mimi, one of the adorable dogs at Austin Dog Rescue

But as much as I loved the cuddles (as you can see in that first shot, where she snuggled up against my neck, and fell asleep!), I really enjoyed learning more about this wonderful group.

Austin is known for its focus on animal rescue and no-kill shelters, but that’s not an easy thing to pull off. Caring for dogs until the right home is found is expensive, and requires a committed group of volunteers who will work with the pups until they’re adopted.

Pile of Valentines puppies

And when it comes to Austin Dog Rescue, that also means finding the right foster home for each and every dog accepted into the group. Unlike rescues based in shelters, which are another essential piece of the animal rescue puzzle, these puppies and adult dogs are cared for in private homes where they can spend time socializing with people and other pets.

That home-based care was the goal when the group was founded in 2006. And since that start, it has worked to help them place over 1,000 homeless pups in loving homes in and around Austin. But they’re not done. Even after all those forever homes were found, there are still so many wonderful dogs waiting for their own home. And new homeless dogs appear every day.

Austin Dog Rescue event

The pups are great, but it all comes down to the volunteers

At Sunday’s event, I loved meeting the amazing rescue volunteers almost as much as playing with the dogs. There were teens and there were seniors, and all ages in between.  Some were foster moms and dads. Others were event volunteers. But you could see that each and every one of them loved these pups.

If you’re thinking about adding a pup to your family, please celebrate one of the best aspects of Austin and head to a rescue group like Austin Dog Rescue, Austin Pets Alive, Austin Cats’ Angels instead of a breeder or a pet shop. The love — and the chance to save a life —  is there waiting for you!

Make a Difference Monday and Austin’s Cats’ Angels

Cats Angels Image2I heard about Danielle from one of her friends. “She rescues cats”, she said. “Not just gives them a home. She really rescues them.” I wanted to know more, so I she connected me with Danielle, who is the group’s founder and current President.

“I always cared about animals”, she said. “But I was horrified when I found homeless, starving cats and kittens in my own neighborhood.”  That led her to start feeding the desperate strays she came across. And the kittens were spayed, so the next spring, there were almost none. Someone from the county called her the “Cats’ Angel” and the name stuck.

Cats Angels Image3

That was 10 years ago, and Danielle is still saving the lives of Austin’s most vulnerable feline residents. In the years since the group’s unplanned start, Cats’ Angels has become  a 501C-3 organization, and has expanded to include other foster families.

According to Danielle, the group doesn’t have a central location. All of their rescues are placed in foster homes where the often starved, injured or abused cats can get the TLC they need. Once the cats are well, up-to-date on vaccines and litter-trained, they are ready for forever families.

Cats’ Angles also doesn’t have a fancy website. Just a page on PetFinders. There you can see the cats available for adoption, read about some of her more memorable rescues, and find out more about the organization.

After talking with Danielle, I suspect their simple online presence is more about meeting priorities than making a choice to not have a regular site.  She’d rather be helping these lost animals heal and find a home than working online.

Cats Angels Image 1

Adoptions are handled via an application process, although Danielle assured me it wasn’t complex. She just wants to find a home where these cats who have often been saved from the streets won’t end up there again.

You can request an application by email.  Or you can pick up an application at one of their adoption events at PetCo on Great Hills. Contact Danielle at the adoption e-mail address to find out when the next event is scheduled.

Getting the current Cats’ Angels’ charges adopted is the group’s number one priority. “We can’t accept any more cats now. We are full up, and can only provide for a certain number of cats at a time,” said the group’s founder. “We need to get these cats into homes before we can take even a single cat more.”

If adoptions aren’t on the table right now, consider making a donation to help care for the cats waiting for their own family. Foster families are always needed, especially this time of year. Volunteers are also needed to play with the cats and kittens to help them socialize.

If time is an issue, but you still want to help. consider donating something from their modest but critical wish list.

  • Cat food (Purina cat chow, Wellness or Blue Buffalo, canned and dry)
  •  Clumping unscented cat litter
  • Gently used or new cat beds
  • Cat carriers, cat crates or cages (for showing the cats at adoption)
  • Cat toys