BRANDON — Every Monday, veterinary assisting students from Aparicio-Levy Technical Center work their clinical hours at Hillsborough County Animal Services. And every Monday, they hear about the need.
With jobs down and prices up, more and more families struggle to purchase food for their animals. Some must relinquish them to the shelter. Not all of the dogs and cats find new homes.
Yeas ago, officers for Animal Services began carrying food with them to give to families in need. The students at the adult education center off of Falkenburg Road are collecting dog and cat food this month to help replenish that supply.
“We thought this would make a good community service project for our class,” said Veterinary Assistant teacher Carla Causey. “It would be our way of giving back to the community.”
“I think this is really a benefit because a lot of people that have pets are barely making it,” said vet assistant student Holly Watkins. “They may have to choose between medicine and pet food. This way, they don’t have to choose.”
If it helps to keep more pets out of the animal shelter, it’s worth it, said student Rebecca Mendez.
Danielle Hernandez, also a student, said she knows a couple of people who have benefitted from the program.
“One lost a job and one was in a bad accident,” she said.
The students decorated a bulletin board at their school to celebrate those who contribute to their animal food drive.
“We call it Paws for a Cause,” said student Bryan Campbell. The students are also collecting blankets, toys and old towels. Each donor’s name is added to the bulletin board.
Donations can be dropped off through the end of the month at Aparicio-Levy, located at 10119 E. Ellicott Street, Tampa, just north of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard off of Falkenburg Road.