Arctic blast cold Sunday morning temperatures. Just 14 degrees at 5am. This isn’t just cold. This is dangerously cold. This is deadly cold. The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank is slated to open soon, and we’ve never cancelled yet due to the weather. But today will be different.
Because today we will implement an emergency quick-response cold weather plan including modified food distribution and fast-check Intake processes to do the best job possible to take care of both our guests and volunteers during this bitter cold stretch. To protect the hundreds that will arrive while the temperature is still just 14 degrees. Guests in wheelchairs and walkers will receive the most rapid response, ideally in and out in a matter of minutes.
Many will arrive without gloves or hats, some without coats. They will arrive by bus or car or bike and some will even have walked miles to get to our door to get the pet food they need to keep their best friends fed. Because hungry people have hungry pets. And they will do anything to keep them fed. Including freezing themselves.
And when they get to our door they will be quickly ushered inside this cold morning and invited to take their place on comfortable seats in a warehouse being warmed with a loaned heater from the good folks at STAR Rentals in Portland, Oregon. It will still be cold but less cold and for that we are grateful.
Because all of us at The Pongo Fund on this deathly cold day, be they the 35 trained Pongo Volunteers as well as those we will serve, will appreciate having even a little bit of heat. And then we will get to work, getting our guests the food they need to keep their pets fed. But we will also be at the ready with hats and gloves for our guests who do not have them. The photo is just a portion of the hundreds of pair of gloves and hats that we have already distributed throughout the homeless and low-income communities. For parents. For their kids. Dog and cat coats too. Sleeping bags, heavy coats, socks and more too. Because while we may all be cold, it is those at greatest risk that deserve this extra support from people who care. But it’s not just the homeless. It could be anyone. Because when someone cannot afford to turn their heat on, an extra blanket or three will help.
Today we know that despite the harsh cold, each and every one of our Pongo Volunteers will rise to the occasion and do the same great work they have done so many times before. Because it does not matter which side of the table someone is on. Whether they are on the side receiving food or on the side giving food. Because at the end of the day, we have all been nourished. Food, heart, soul. Each one of us will feel fuller with gratitude.
And no matter how cold it is on the outside, we will all feel just a bit warmer on the inside. And this is why we Pongo!
Sit. Stay. Eat. Live. thepongofund.org