In June, we adopted Coby. In his papers, it said that his family surrendered him to the Humane Society because they could no longer afford him. Just by looking it his size, it's easy to see why. That boy can eat! Which got me thinking... I can't imagine how painful it would be to have to give up a pet (a member of the family) because you couldn't afford their food, medications, etc. Coby wasn't the first dog to be given up for this reason, and he won't be the last. Just thinking about it breaks my heart.
I started doing some research. I found numerous pet food banks across the country! Many cities with more than one, but I couldn't find anything in our area. I contacted the NE Humane Society, and they said they didn't know of anything like it in the area. That's all I needed to hear. I immediately got to work determining what I needed to get one started. That's when I found a brick wall...
To start accepting donations (food, money, etc), you need to have nonprofit status. To get this, you need to file forms, and prepare articles of incorporation, and assemble a board, and the list goes on and on. I quickly realized this was going to be no easy task. I contacted a couple of lawyers. At the cost of over $5,000, I could have this started in no time. But where was I going to get that money? I can't raise funds until I have the status, and I can't get the status until I have money. See the dilemma? Ugh.
Bring in the Omaha Community Foundation! They were my first glimmer of hope. They are essentially a nonprofit that helps nonprofits. And they could help me! With them, I can file an application, and if I'm accepted, I can use their nonprofit status to get the pet food bank up and running. This means that I start raising money (and food!) and apply for grants!
I thought it might be a good idea to meet with the Food Bank for the Heartland to see if they would be able to help in anyway. At this point, I would be so thankful for even some good advice. But luckily, Susan Ogborn, the president of the Food Bank for the Heartland, agreed to meet with me, and we were able to talk about how they might be able to help. Yes!
Now for my next dilemma. The OCF application isn't exactly a walk in the park... The application has challenged my patience, my determination, and writing abilities. I plan on just muddling my way through the best I can and try to keep my hopes up.
Before today, I was really hesitant to tell too many people about this dream of mine. I think mostly I was afraid to say that I failed if it didn't work out. But I really, really want this to work. I want to make this a reality and make a difference in my community. Trying to stay positive is probably the hardest part. Not everyone has been supportive, and numerous people have told me that it sounds like too much work. There have been more than a few tears shed, but I don't want to give up. I think maybe I just need a little encouragement (and a lawyer, accountant, and business writer) and maybe a few prayers for the project and my sanity.
Thanks for listening!