A handful of cat food flyers have gone a long way to helping needy cats in the Lower Mainland, thanks to Jamie Shannon and her kids.
Two weeks ago, the North Delta mom received a flyer for Whiskas cat food on her door — a buy one, get one free deal. It sparked an idea for the cat lover, to collect a few of these flyers and donate the bags to local animal shelters.
She posted a call for flyers on the North Delta Community Corner Facebook page before going to bed on Thursday, Aug. 9.
“In the morning, I had so many private messages and so many comments on the actual post,” Shannon said, “which is kind of how it got started.”
Over the next two weeks, Shannon, her two sons Jaxon (8) and Lucas (11), and her two daughters Rion (9) and Maci (6) ran around North Delta collecting flyers from the many residents who had contacted her. Then the family did the “trek up and down Scott Road” to purchase the food.
The flyers were intended to be one-per-customer, but “we’d just explain the situation and said we’re donating them,” Shannon said. “And the stores were so good about it … Safeway up at 64th [Avenue] said that we could actually place orders for large quantities as well, so that we didn’t have to clean out their shelves.”
In total, the family purchased 141 bags of cat food to donate to local shelters.
“We’re big into doing what we can, especially for animals, because they have no voice,” she explained.
The first batch of donations went to the Delta Community Animal Shelter on Monday, Aug. 13. The place has a special significance for the family, as they adopted their cat from the shelter two years ago, and recently had to bring her back because the activity of a four-kid household was too much for her.
“We knew it was the right thing for her to get a home she would feel comfortable in. It wasn’t fair for her,” Shannon said about the family’s difficult decision to surrender their cat. “So I think that really prompted us wanting to donate to them too. Because they’re helping us out in a way, finding her a suitable home.”
The family gave the shelter 56 bags of cat food, which it will either use or donate to other animal rescue operations close by.
“It always gets used, it just may not necessarily be by us,” Ryan Voutilainen, manager of the Delta Community Animal Shelter, explained. He recommends people call ahead of time before donating, just in case they are in need of a particular item.
However, the fact that the Shannon’s kids took the time to donate to the shelter was great for Voutilainen to see.
“We do get animals in here that are in need, and not only do they need food, but they also need homes as well,” he said. “The more we can get kids recognizing that shelters are out there and exist, and there are animals in need, the better we’ll be down the road when they’re looking at adopting.”
The Shannon family still has a couple donation trips to go. They did another delivery to the Regional Animal Protection Society in Richmond on Tuesday, Aug. 21, and are hoping to do a third donation drop-off in the Lower Mainland soon.
“We can’t always donate a ton of money. But we can donate our time,” Shannon said. “And I think sometimes that feels better than just handing over a cheque.”
That sentiment extended to the community as well, and all the people who gave Shannon their flyers to use to buy cat food for the shelters.
“I think it just shows the type of people we have in our community, that they’re willing to help even if it is just as simple as passing off a coupon to somebody else,” she said. “Because that little bit makes a difference.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled Maci Shannon’s name. We have corrected the spelling and regret the error.