HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – During the early stages of the pandemic, Pride Mendonza saw more and more stray dogs wandering the Waianae Coast.
He learned some families were releasing their animals because they couldn’t afford to buy pet food. So he and his wife, Elsie, did something about it.
“And we figured if they could just have food and feed their animals then they wouldn’t get rid of the animals,” Mendonza said. “Me and my wife decided to go ahead and get something going.”
The couple named their grassroots effort Waianae Wags.
They used their own money to buy large quantities of pet food, divided it into smaller packages, and gave them away to animal owners who needed help.
Then it got bigger.
“We talked with the Humane Society. Then Elsie decided to do the paperwork on the nonprofit and stuff like that,” Mendonza said.
Soon the Hawaiian Humane Society and Hawaii Foodbank were donating large amounts of pet food for Waianae Wags to give away.
“They had palettes of theirs and they would give us palettes. And we would give out bags, 40-pound bags of food,” Mendonza said.
Individuals and groups also helped them collect food for food drives.
The grassroots effort has helped feed hundreds of pets on Oahu’s west side.
“We want them to keep their animals. If we can provide the food, it’s one less worry they have to, you know, worry about,” Mendonza said.
But pet food donations from the large agencies have slowed down while the need from financially strapped pet owners remains.
So the couple isn’t giving up.
“This is my calling already,” Mendonza said. “This is what we wanna do.”
And twice a month, Waianae Wags donates dog and cat food to animal owners in homeless camps, so their pets won’t starve.
“They’re so grateful,” Mendonza said. “They’re so happy.”
As it continues its work, the nonprofit would appreciate pet food donations — and monetary gifts so it can do more.
You can learn all about their pet food campaign by clicking here.
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