Positive Options works to ensure pets don't go hungry
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD -- Joyce Hanouesk got involved with Animal Shelter Renovation Inc. (ASRI) as a volunteer about 12 months ago.
One year and 10,000 pounds of cat and dog food later, she's now coordinating the organization's Positive Options borderless pet food bank and emergency rescue operations.
"I oversee the animals that we currently have in rescue and all of our rescue is foster care at this point ... we have a number of cats and dogs in foster now," Hanousek explained, adding that she has four dogs of her own and two in rescue.
"I might have a seventh by tonight," she said last Thursday, adding that she received a call from a concerned citizen about a possibly abandoned dog.
Laura Maceyka, director of public relations for ASRI, explained that without a permanent location, ASRI formed Positive Options in order to manage much-needed food donations for their rescues and others. She noted that the non-profit organization is currently in negotiations with a local municipality to set up a regional no-kill animal shelter; however, she declined to release any specifics.
Maceyka said food donations have been slow over the past couple of months but she's hoping the organization's food drives and community outreach initiatives will aid their efforts. She added that in addition to feeding their own rescues, Positive Options contributes pet food to human food banks in Westfield, Southwick and Huntington .
Hanousek said they're beginning to chart food drops and demands in order to better gauge the need for pet food in each town. She added that historically, the demand has been for cat food because of the higher feline population in the area.
Maceyka noted that monetary donations have also waned in the past several months as well as participation in fundraising events.
"The economy is such that donations have been a bit slower this year," she said, adding that ASRI's next big event, the second annual dinner and auction, will take place on Oct. 23 at Tekoa Country Club.
Positive Options will have its next two pet food drives on Oct. 17 at Gateway Farm and Pet in Huntington and on Oct. 24 at the Walmart in Westfield.
For additional information about ASRI, Positive Options, events or to make donations, visit http://helphomelessanimals.com
or call (888) 689-3698.
Those willing to participate in a pet food drive, foster or rescue a pet, contact Hanousek at firstname.lastname@example.org