In times of hardship and discord, there are always people who come together to help others in need.

The partial U.S. government shutdown, which began on December 22, has halted wages for 800,000 federal employees and millions of federal contractors. In response, groups from all over the country have offered, in various ways, to lend a hand to help ease these furloughed workers’ unexpected financial burdens.

Below is a list of animal organizations offering assistance — in the form of free pet food and other pet supplies — to families affected by the shutdown.

Please note:

  • This is not an all-inclusive list, though we’ll try our best to update or add to it as new information becomes available.
  • To our knowledge, all of the listed non-profits are accepting monetary donations, and many are also accepting donations of pet food and supplies.
  • Many animal welfare organizations offer pet supply pantries to those in need (to any pet parents, at any time of the year). If you or someone you know needs help caring for a furry family member, please check with your local shelter(s) about assistance options in your area.


Tempe-based nonprofit Lost Our Home Pet Rescue offers various services — such as a pet food bank and temporary care — for pet guardians facing financial hardship. Visit the website to see how you can apply for assistance.


Colorado Pet Pantry operates multiple pet food banks between Longmont and Ordway (east of Pueblo) with a concentration in the Denver and Boulder-metro areas. The organization is reminding the public that these resources are open to furloughed workers. Click here to see a list of upcoming events/banks where supplies will be distributed.


The Humane Rescue Alliance’s Pet Pantry provides free pet food for Washington, D.C. residents in need, and HRA is reminding the public that the pantry is available for furloughed workers. The pantry operates on a regular schedule, with designated times and days of the week during which pet owners can show up to pick up for their animals. Click here for details about how to get assistance.


Tampa: In a Facebook post, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay announced assistance for government workers:

“Due to the government shutdown, we will be providing FREE pet food during our normal business hours for any government worker (verification required) who is not getting paid that needs assistance. … Food distribution is for Tampa Bay citizens who are struggling to feed their pets. We offer free dog and cat food at our shelter every Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Receiving food assistance is on a first come, first-served basis.” The shelter is located at 3607 N Armenia Ave. in Tampa.

Jacksonville: In a Facebook post, the Jacksonville Humane Society also announced assistance:

“JHS is inviting families with pets being impacted by the federal shutdown to our pet food bank, available on Saturdays from 10-12 at our warehouse: 1821 Foster Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32216. Please bring an ID or form of identification for your workplace.”


Chicago-based Red Door Animal Shelter is providing free cat, dog, or rabbit food for federal employees during the shutdown. Food can be picked up on Fridays at the shelter (2410 W Lunt Ave). Email for more details.


The MSPCA, based in Boston, will distribute pet supplies to furloughed government workers on Saturday, January 19. Donations can be picked up at the organization’s animal care and adoption centers in Jamaica Plain, Methuen, and Centerville on Cape Cod between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Those who are unable to make it on Saturday but need pet food or supplies can email to make alternative arrangements.


Pet ResQ Inc., a foster-based rescue organization, has partnered with PetValu stores to collect and distribute donations of pet food and treats, cat litter, flea and heartworm medicine, and gift cards to pet stores. Families affected by the shutdown may pick up supplies at the PetValu location in Garwood, New Jersey. Please be sure to bring your government identification.


The Santa Fe Animal Shelter is providing free pet food for those affected by the shutdown. Furloughed employees can pick up the food, with a valid federal ID, at the main shelter’s campus at 100 Caja Del Rio Road in Santa Fe. Food will be available while supplies last.


Albany/Menands: The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is offering low-cost pet care and free supplies to furloughed workers. Free pet food is being distributed at the Menands location (3 Oakland Ave.) daily between noon and 6 p.m., or at the shelter’s Saratoga clinic (5255 Route 50) on weekdays between 9 a.m. and noon. The organization is also waiving fees (for federal employees) for some veterinarian services at its Saratoga clinic.

Middletown: In a Facebook post, Pets Alive offered assistance to furloughed workers in the Hudson Valley:

“We will provide one bag of pet food per family from our Pet Chow Pantry, while supplies last. Recipients will need to bring proof of federal employment. All food will be available on a first come, first-served basis while supplies last. Please email us at to schedule pick up at Pets Alive, 363 Derby Rd., Middletown.”


Jaded Paws Rescue, located in the Hubert/Jacksonville area, has extended the reach of its pet food pantry to help furloughed workers in the community. To receive free pet food, stop by the pantry with your employee ID on Tuesdays or Saturdays between noon and 3 p.m. The pantry is located at 1009 Onsville Dr. (Suite A) in Jacksonville.


Bend: The Humane Society of Central Oregon has partnered with Freekibble and Halo Pet Food to provide free dog and cat food to furloughed federal workers. These items will be distributed on Saturday, January 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Humane Society of Central Oregon (61170 SE 27th Street in Bend).

Portland: The Pongo Fund provides various resources — such as pet food and veterinary care — for pet guardians facing financial hardships. Visit their website to see how you can receive assistance.


The Charleston Animal Society is reminding the public of its Pet Food Bank assistance for pet guardians in need. Supplies can be donated or picked up at the organization’s Animal Care Campus at 2455 Remount Road, North Charleston.

As of January 17, the organization had donated more than 500 pounds of pet food to help assist families of federal workers impacted by the shutdown.


In a Facebook post, the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society invited those in need to use their pet food bank:

“Government employees, contractors, and anyone who has been affected by the shutdown who are struggling to feed their pets are welcome to come to the shelter to use our pet food bank! Supplies can be limited, as the program depends on donations from the community, but we do have dog and cat food available currently. We’re here to help! Simply bring a photo ID to the shelter and you’ll receive a bag of food.”

The shelter is located at 3720 E Benson Rd. in Sioux Falls.


Addison/Carrollton: A Carrollton-based shelter, Operation Kindness, is offering free bags of pet food and cat litter to federal employees on Saturday, January 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Employees can pick up the pet supplies at Operation Kindness’ Pet Food Pantry at 3953 Belt Line Road, Addison, TX 75001.

Alpine: The Alpine Humane Society is offering free dog and cat food through its pet food pantry, located inside the Alpine Humane Society Thrift Store at 705 N 5th St. (Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth: A nonprofit called Don’t Forget to Feed Me partners with eight distribution locations to distribute pet food throughout North Texas. Visit their website to find out how you and your furry pal(s) can receive assistance.


Winston Wishes, a nonprofit pet pantry in the Hampton Roads area, has partnered with AT&T to collect and donate pet supplies for furloughed workers. To request assistance, message Winston Wishes on Facebook. Donations may be dropped off at AT&T locations in Norfolk (1119 N. Military Hwy.), Virginia Beach (Landstown Commons & Redmill), and Chesapeake (4200 Portsmouth Blvd.)


SpokAnimal, a Spokane-based shelter, is providing free dog and cat food to federal employees. Pet parents can pick up supplies at the shelter during regular business hours. Just let one of the team members at the front desk know you are a federal employee.

The shelter is located at 710 N. Napa St. in Spokane.


Wisconsin Humane Society is offering supplies to furloughed workers through its Furry Friends Pet Pantry. Pet owners in need can go to the Humane Society’s Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Racine campuses. The organization is also accepting donations from those who’d like to help.

Any other organizations we should add to the list?

Please comment below or email to notify Team MUTTS about other pet assistance programs for furloughed government workers.

Comments (6)

The DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Is offering free tickets to those affected by the shutdown. Check their Facebook page


High Country Humane and Purina are collaborating in Flagstaff AZ to provide pet food for furloughed workers. The help should be in place by Thursday Jan 24. Call 928-526-0742 for details.

Diane Jarvis

I think there us one in Idaho doing the same.


The Oregon Humane Society is also giving pet food.

Mollie Hunt

The Ark (a small non-profit music venue) in Ann Arbor, Michigan is offering an opportunity to participate in their annual folk festival so you get a free concert for the evening. Amazing artists will be performing!

Ilene Beninson

VCA animal hospitals are offering delayed payment options for federal employee’s pets who need medical care now.
Must have federal id. Contact your local VCA hospital for details.