ASPCA Coronavirus Relief Efforts Begin in NYC Communities

March 31, 2020

ASPCA pet food distribution

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ASPCA launched a $5 million relief and recovery initiative to support animal welfare organizations and pet parents impacted by the coronavirus. Part of that initiative is the setup of pet food distribution centers in four cities—New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Asheville, North Carolina—and this past weekend, we launched the first one in New York City. 

Thanks to generous support from the Petco Foundation, PetSmart Charities and Blue Buffalo, and the hard work of many ASPCA staff from across the organization, the distribution center became fully operational in less than a week. As the outbreak continues to intensify, with more people throughout the city impacted in various ways by the virus, we recognized that the need for this service in our community was urgent. 

The pet food distribution center serves residents of all five boroughs and food pickup is by appointment only. Social distancing restrictions and guidelines are in place to protect the health and safety of our employees and clients. 

ASPCA Staff member moving a bag of pet food

Denise Ortega of Manhattan was browsing her Facebook page when she saw the ASPCA’s promotion for free pet food the following day. Denise has two dogs, Shakira and Sophia, and also feeds two community cats. 

After making an appointment, Denise took a city bus to the ASPCA, where workers were distributing food from the back of an ASPCA fleet box truck. She brought home a bag of dog food and plans to return with an appointment for cat food.

“I found it really helpful because I was running low,” says Denise, a former probation officer. “Especially now in this time of crisis. I can’t wait until all this is over. It’s a scary time for animals, too.”

The L.A., Miami and Asheville pet food distribution centers are scheduled to launch the first weekend of April.

ASPCA staff moving pet food bags

Providing pet food is not the only way the ASPCA is helping our hometown. A few days ago, the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn received a shipment of much-needed ventilators, which unfortunately came without the hoses and connectors needed to put them in use. Since other hospitals are faced with the same demand for ventilator units and equipment, Wyckoff Heights reached out to local animal hospitals for help. Our veterinary team immediately donated 43 ventilator hoses, which will allow for approximately 20 additional ventilators to be in use at any given time.

Two thousand face masks from the ASPCA’s inventory will also be donated, shipped and delivered to NYU Langone Hospitals, thanks to our partnership with FedEx.

COVID-19 continues to challenge even the strongest of New Yorkers—but the ASPCA is always here to help our community, as well as the animal welfare community across the nation. Together, we are resilient and will get through this crisis. Thank you for your trust in us and for your generous support.

ASPCA pet food distribution