By Amanda Hatfield
MERRITT ISLAND -- Brevard County residents aren't the only ones feeling the effect of a slowing economy -- our furry friends are also impacted.
While many are struggling to keep food on the table, "Fido" and "Figaro" often find their food bowls with little more than a few scraps from the table.
Thankfully, the compassion and dedication of two local organizations have made it their mission to see that pets receive the proper nutrition they need.
Friday, Feb. 15 through Saturday, Feb. 16, Grace United Methodist Church and the SPCA of North Brevard will jointly host a pet food drive.
Grace United Methodist Church members Roberta and Warren McKee began collecting pet food for the church's country store in early 2012.
"When the SPCA thrift store in Merritt Island opened, we decided to ask manager Lawanda Norris if her store would like to help out the community through Grace United Methodist Church and our country store that we have four times a year," Mr. McKee said.
Recognizing an excellent opportunity to help her community, Mrs. Norris happily agreed.
This weekend's pet food drive will mark the third time the two organizations have partnered up to help animals in need.
"We have distributed as much as 700 pounds of free pet food, donated by the SPCA and members of Grace United Methodist Church at our events," Mr. McKee said. "At our last event, we helped about 100 families."
Grace United Methodist Church asks that donations of dry, unopened packages of pet food be delivered to its fellowship hall or at the Merritt Island SPCA thrift store.
"We're also accepting other donations for folks who need kitty litter, pet toys and shampoo," Mr. McKee added.
In order to make sure each family receives a fair amount of pet food, church members will meet Friday night to divide the large bags of food into smaller bags.
Those who are in need of pet food are invited to stop by Grace United Methodist Church Saturday, Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. until 12 noon.
"Our store also has many items to pass out to families, such as cleaning supplies and personal care items," Mr. McKee said. "Basically anything you can't get with the public assistance cards."
Susan Naylor, media specialist for the SPCA of North Brevard, is very excited about the event.
"With the help of the SPCA thrift store, this event has become a huge success," Mrs. Naylor said. "We look forward to helping people, where they can use the help, that sometimes they just can't get elsewhere."
Pet food donations will be accepted at Grace United Methodist Church until 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15. Donations can also be made year-round at Merritt Island SPCA Thrift Store.
Pet food and other items can be collected on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Grace Saturday Country Store at Grace United Methodist Church.
Grace United Methodist Church is located at 65 Needle Blvd. in Merritt Island. The SPCA Merritt Island Thrift Store is located at 685 N. Courtenay Parkway.
For more information, contact Warren McKee at (321) 749-1227.