animal food bank Bruges, Source: City of Bruges

The first animal food bank in Bruges opens its doors

The first animal food bank in Bruges opens its doors

Because pets are not just for those who can afford them

The very first animal food bank in Bruges, Belgium, has just opened its doors, as the municipality informed yesterday. Managed by the Flemish non-profit organization Beestjes in Nesten, this space has been aimed to support people who experience financial difficulties but need a pet in their lives.

Everyone deserves a friend

The animal food bank is located on the ground floor of the 'Rond Den Heerd' (Sint-Pieters) residence. Its purpose is to assist clients of the local social service provider (OCMW) and the social grocery 'De KABA'. However, homeless pet owners can also make use of the free animal food available there. For them, animal food is given in small containers so that they can store it in a locker or elsewhere.

The new service wants to respond to the needs of socially isolated people who often find comfort thanks to a four-legged pet friend. Pets provide comfort and emotional support which is why they should not be reserved only for people who can afford them financially, is the opinion of local authorities.

That is why Beestjes in Nesten were supported by OCMW in their initiative. Currently, the animal food bank is one of several activities that the NGO has implemented in the pet sphere in the Belgian region of Flanders since 2016.

They frequently assist people receiving social services who cannot afford to take care of their animals alone for things like purchasing food, toys or paying for an expensive operation. All of the above is made possible through crowdfunding, sponsors and thanks to the help of a network of volunteers. In addition, OCMW clients who wish to take care of an animal can also pay a small membership fee, in order to share a part of the responsibility.

Frequently people do not realize what an animal can mean for many of us… When the animal has to go outside for a walk, the owners often come into contact with other people. An animal also senses grief and comes to you to comfort you. There are thousands of reasons to love an animal. Poverty or lack of money cannot be an obstacle,” explained the NGO.



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