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Cat Adoption Team food bank helps people keep their pets

A surplus of cat food donated to the Cat Adoption Team back in early 2008 lead to the formation of the first organized pet food bank in the metro area, right here in Sherwood.

Think back to the summer of 2008: Headlines were warning us about the recession, the economic downturn, the burst housing bubble and the rise in unemployment.

My inbox was also overflowing with news articles from across the country sadly reporting that shelters were filling up with what was dubbed "recession pets."

Dogs and cats turned over to animal shelters because owners could no longer afford to care for them, could not find affordable housing that allowed pets, or were moving in with friends who would not let them bring their pet.

Looking at that surplus of donated cat food, I devised a notion that we could do something here in Sherwood to make sure cat owners who were facing financial troubles would not have to relinquish their cat to an animal shelter. All of the 83,000 pounds handed out over the past three years was donated by animal lovers.

When the door opened that first Sunday in June 2008, I was amazed to see a line!

We happily handed out a whopping 375 pounds of cat food.

Fast forward to June 2011 when 375 pounds of cat food was given out in the first 20 minutes, and it didn't stop there. In fact, over 3,000 pounds of cat food is routinely handed out.

In three short years, the little Cat Food Bank I started has seen a 727 percent increase in demand!

Cat owners come from Washougal, Newberg, Southeast Portland, Fairview Tigard, and just around the corner.

If you love your pet (dog or cat or rat or rabbit), you can understand the driving force behind the Cat Food Bank - keeping companion pets with their families.

There are several ways you can help this program continue:

1) Donate a bag or two of cat food;

2) Make a secure monetary donation to the food fund so I can purchase food at a discount to keep the shelves full;

3) Host a cat food drive;

4) Volunteer to hand out food on the first Sunday of the month;

5) Share information about the Cat Food Bank with those who may need the help

All details can be found at www.catadoptionteam.org/catfoodbank or by calling 503-925-8903.

CAT is located at 14175 S.W. Galbreath Dr., Sherwood.