While soup kitchens, shelters and churches feed people who are hungry, there are very few places people can go to get food for their animals – even fewer that will offer them a place to sleep or affordable veterinary care.
This became obvious to Foundation board member Teena Patel a couple of years ago. When she’d drive around East Orlando running errands, she couldn’t help but notice that a lot of homeless people she saw had dogs, and she wondered how they managed to care for them. She ran into a homeless man with his pit-mix behind a gas station one day, and struck up a conversation. He was carrying an incredibly heavy-looking backpack, and she asked what was in it.
He had a rolled-up 30 pound bag of dog food in there. Patel was so struck by the sight that she started collecting dog food in a donation box at the University of Doglando. She started to bring bags of food with her when she was out and about. She would drive all around Orlando, from the UCF area to Bithlo, and give it to the homeless that owned dogs.
On Thanksgiving 2011, she gathered a group of volunteers to hold an event where low-income people could come pick up free dog food. It was such a success that Patel suggested that the Doglando Foundation organize a program that would distribute free food for pets on a weekly basis – a sort of canine soup kitchen. In 2012, the Doglando Foundation adopted the project, named it the Full Tummy Project and set about making connections with people who needed their help.
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Articles about Full Tummy:
- Full Tummy Project feeds homeless people’s pets – Orlando Weekly
- The Full Tummy Project – Doggy Mom
- Homeless Pets: 3 Nonprofits That Help People Living on the Streets Feed Their Animals – Huffington Post