Pandemic spawns pet food giveaway

by Marisa Gillen

Emily Rilling is a person who loves animals, as does everyone in her family.

This spring, Emily, with the support of her grandmother, Carole Davis (a dog groomer), and mother, Colleen, began to think of ways to help out animals in Bucks County during the COVID-19 crisis.

A shelter in place order was in effect throughout the county and businesses were shutting down.

Particular hardships were being felt by the County’s older residents, those with medical conditions, and families that suddenly had no income.

The family worried about how these people were able to get to the store to feed their pets and whether they could even afford to purchase it.

Carole asked Debbie MacDonald, owner of Canine Academy in Penndel, if she would be willing to allow them to collect donated pet food in front of the dog school.

The great pet food give-away was born.

A GoFundMe was set up on-line to raise money to purchase food and the word went out across various forms of social media.

Local pet supply businesses sold them various kinds of dog and cat food at greatly discounted prices and they were able to purchase 140 bags.

Annamaet Pet Foods, Inc. generously donated over 900 pounds of food.

With other donations, about 4,000 pounds of various brands were collected.

On April 25th cars lined up through the shopping center in Penndel and out onto Lincoln Highway as families gratefully accepted this gift of love.

As participants wrote the type of food they needed on a piece of paper held up against their vehicles’ windows, volunteers loaded the food into their trunks.

With the remaining pet food, Carole, Emily, and Colleen have continued to distribute food throughout the county to those who request it and don’t have the means to pick it up.

For those who have urgent need for dog or cat food, please text your request including whether you need dog or puppy food, cat or kitten food, how many pets you have, are they large or small animals, and your address.

Text to Colleen at 215-630-5335 or Carole at 215-630-1479. They will deliver the food to you. 

If you would like to donate please go to

PHOTO CAP: From left, Debbie MacDonald, Carole Davis, Emily Rilling, and Zakk the dog with donated pet food. 

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