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Animal Food Bank seeing need grow in North Okanagan

Number of applications increasing with dog food donations especially needed
Melvin with recent donations at the Vernon Animal Food Bank, enough to last about a week as the need has been growing. (Contributed)

More local pet owners are having a hard time affording food for their furry friends.

Vernon’s Animal Food Bank is seeing an increase in the number of people requesting help.

Greg Palmer runs the food bank out of his home/business space, with his own furry friend Melvin.

He says there’s been about a 15 per cent rise over the past couple months, up from last year, of those needing help.

“From Jan. 1 to Jan. 10 we had 22 applications,” said Palmer, adding Jan. 12 to 26 saw a further 15 applications.

”It’s more than usual, which is kind of out of the ordinary for this time of year,” he said, looking at three new requests from the weekend.

A recent call for help saw dozens of donations come in, but unfortunately it will all be gone by the end of the week, Palmer said.

“This time last year I didn’t go through the food like I do now.”

The biggest need is for dog food, which Palmer currently has none of.

He suspects many of those needing help are just like him, just trying to get by.

Owning his own business Deluxe Decor & Scenery, Palmer lives “from job to job.”

But right now it’s slow. And the local entrepreneur is still recovering from a tough summer.

Palmer and his dog Melvin lived and worked in the downtown Vernon complex that burned down July 4.

READ MORE: Drone footage captures devastating downtown Vernon fire

“I lost everything,” said Palmer, who is still trying to replace tools and get back on his feet.

Palmer had literally just finished putting two years of renovations into the space when he sat down after completing the flooring.

He fell asleep and woke to the fire alarm and smoke already filling his space.

He and Melvin escaped, with just the clothes on his back.

He has since found a new space at 4707 29th St., and continues to do volunteer his time helping others feed their animals.

It’s a love of animals and understanding how much of an impact they have on people’s lives that keeps him dedicated to helping.

“Animals are a gift,” said Palmer. “I’ve always had a dog and I can’t imagine not having one.”

While he just has his rescue dog Melvin, many of those accessing the food bank have multiple animals.

Those who can donate food or funds can drop them off at 4707 29th St., and at Pet Planet or visit

READ MORE: Dog on the run for 3 weeks rescued near Vernon

Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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