Sometimes cranky people are cranky only because they hurt. Sore neck, aching back, bum hip, bad knee, impacted tooth, infected ear, broken dentures, sinus infection. Even just a mild headache that has ached for days and still aches because a small bottle of ibuprofen is $3.00 more than they currently have in their pocket.
Paul is that sort of cranky person. He’s new to Portland, a United States Veteran, and he carries some wounds with him. Wounds that he carries both inside and out. Paul has a service dog named Henry and Henry needed food. Paul did too, but he told his caseworker that he was more concerned about Henry. So Paul’s caseworker called The Pongo Fund because we had been added to a list of resources exactly for times like this.
Paul’s caseworker said the Resource List is their Bible, the place they turn for help in solving the problems they don’t always know how to solve otherwise. Helping disabled veterans feed their dogs is one of those problems. But just because a name is on the Resource List doesn’t mean it will always be the right resource. But in this case there were five stars ***** next to the words “Pongo Fund.” And the caseworker said that when you’re helping Military Veterans and you see five stars, you know that’s going to be a great resource.
We got the information we needed to dispatch our Emergency Kibble Response Team. With one last warning from the caseworker. He said Paul was pretty much cranky all of the time. He just wanted us to know that.
We met Paul and Paul was cranky. But then Henry jumped up on his lap, licked his face and Paul giggled like Cindy Brady. A proud man. A proud man in pain. Pain that came from serving our Country. And deeply embarrassed that he needed our help. But Henry was not embarrassed.
We think Henry’s primary role as a service dog was to lick Paul’s face and turn his frown into a smile. Because that’s what we saw. And Henry did it so well that we knew he was well practiced at it.
There were many questions we wanted to ask, many conversations we wanted to have. But our job was to deliver the food and get on our way. To let Paul and Henry get back to their day. So we said our goodbyes and exited.
A few days later there was a note waiting for us at The Pongo Fund. It was just three words, a simple thank you from Paul. How he managed to carry himself with all his hurts to our door to leave us a note is something we’ll never know. But he did. And this is why we Pongo.
They are Daisies and they adopted The Pongo Fund as their Community Service Partner during their recent Girl Scout Cookie Sale. Not yet Brownies. Not yet Girl Scouts. Just kindergarteners. But despite their young age Troop 45066 packs a massive amount of spirit. And they brought their spirit of service to The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank for an inspiring day of Kibble Packing. With a goal of empowering and teaching them that contributing the skills they have is of great value. What a great day!
Because each one of these Daisies has pets of their own and told us how much it would hurt them if there was not enough food to keep their pets fed. Even telling us that they would give up their own food so their pets would not go hungry. Powerful words from a group so young.
And when all was done these hard workers had packed a mountain of kibble, more than 500 pounds all in an afternoon! Kibble that is the lifeline for families that cannot afford to keep their own pets fed during these tough times. But it gets even better.
Because before they left they presented The Pongo Fund with a check for $300. They told us to use it to buy another pallet of kibble so the next Girl Scout Troop could enjoy a Kibble Packing Day too. How cool is that?
Five and six year olds paying it forward. Awesome!
Thank you Troop 45066 Daisies and friends. You make us PONGO PROUD!
For those of you that have never experienced the power of Pongo please take a look at this photo. See all those people? Each and every one of them, in addition to 35 Pongo volunteers, was at The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank at that single moment in time. Nearly 200 people in total that refuse to let their pets go hungry. People that regularly give up their own food to keep their pets fed. Because hungry people have hungry pets.
People that are truly thankful to have found their way to The Pongo Fund. Because they know they will be treated with kindness. With dignity. With respect.
Because they know we will help them through these tough times so they will not need to give their animals to a shelter where far too many are euthanized. Because euthanizing an animal simply because they are hungry and there is no more room at the shelter is horribly wrong.
Thankfully, with your help, we can keep that from happening.
Our pet food bank is not pretty or fancy. We have no heat in the winter and no AC in the summer. A raw concrete floor. Unpainted walls covered in spackle. Not even a sign on the door. But those we help don’t care about how we look. They care about the work we do.
We have no marketing staff. No development staff. No public relations staff. We don’t spend our money casually. We spend it on food and the costs that get it where it’s needed. Nearly 5,000,000 nutritious meals served so far.
Because it is that food that gives a chance to animals that might not otherwise have a chance and gives hope to families that have little else to be hopeful for. Because a simple bowl of kibble can be the force that both keeps a family together and saves the lives of the animals they love.
This single moment in time. Thanks to this photo you were there. And that is why we Pongo.
Peace. Love. Kibble.
Thank you, from all of us at The Pongo Fund
The names and faces have been changed for privacy.
What does it mean to Pongo? It means that when you have lost your job and the first paycheck from your new job is still 30 days away, and the food you feed your 90 lb. rescued greyhound is a high-quality special diet due to her extreme allergies, and the $70 cost per bag is $70 more than you have right now, and you have already borrowed from everyone you know, pawned everything you have and they won’t let you give any more blood this week, then you Pongo.
Because this 90 lb. lapdog named Elsa is the most important thing in the world to you. And you will stop at nothing to make sure she is happy and healthy and never knows hunger. These are the times you Pongo.
More than 350 hungry animals received nutritious food from The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank yesterday. And every single one of them has a story. This was the story for Jen and Elsa. A story that Jen said did not begin well on Sunday when she sat in despair, unsure of what she was going to do. She had heard good things about The Pongo Fund but worried that what she heard was too good to be true.
And she said the last thing she wanted to do was tell her Elsa she was leaving to get her breakfast but come home empty handed. She felt afraid, she felt nervous and she felt defeated. But when she left, she said she was walking on air with a big bag of the very food she had dreamed of getting. And she could not get home fast enough to show Elsa the new bag.
This is what it means to Pongo.
32 trained Pongo volunteers rocked the house yesterday, coming together as we always do to celebrate the people and their pets.
Yesterday was a Pongo Day. And we are still smiling about it today.
Peace. Love. Kibble. From all of us at The Pongo Fund.
This is Sadie. And yesterday this sweet girl had run out of food. An injury caused her Mom to miss some work, meaning the next paycheck was still weeks away. But Sadie was out of food now. And that’s when her Mom called The Pongo Fund. Except Sadie and her Mom were nearly 100 miles away.
The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has provided more than 4 million meals to date, helping feed tens of thousands of animals during these toughest of times. Keeping them safe at home with their families and out of the shelters. But yesterday none of the previous 4 million meals mattered, because Sadie was hungry now.
We quickly crafted a plan to get food to Sadie. Although this is not how we typically do things, what mattered now was making sure this sweet girl had food to eat. The plan came together quickly and in a matter of hours Sadie had her food. Just like that. It’s not magic, it’s caring. And it’s one of the driving forces behind The Pongo Fund.
Yesterday it worked for Sadie and her Mom, just as it has for tens of thousands of others. Many of them outside of our home base in Portland, Oregon. Because when we get the call, we always try to help. Saving lives. Keeping families together. Reducing shelter populations. Spay and Neuter. Emergency vet care. We are The Pongo Fund.
As Gandhi said: “You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result. “
And yesterday the results were just what we had hoped for.
Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.thepongofund.org
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