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Thursday, September 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane Humane Society receives hundreds of pounds of pet food thanks to animal-loving Boy Scout’s Eagle project

By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

A recent pet food drive brought nearly 900 pounds of dog and cat food to the Spokane Humane Society, which will use the donation at its pet food bank that is open to the public.

The drive was organized by Nakoa Richardson with Boy Scout Troop 208 as his Eagle Scout project. “This was his idea,” said Humane Society executive director Ed Boks. “He reached out to us and said it was in his heart to help the animals in our community. We certainly appreciate that kind of ingenuity.”

The organization’s pet food bank provides food to people in need, typically giving away between 35,000 and 40,000 pounds of food a year.

“Anybody who is unable to afford pet food can come down,” he said.

People are asked to call ahead to (509) 467-5235 to make an appointment to visit the pet food bank, which also sometimes has cat litter and toys to give away as well.

“For folks who need a steady supply until they get back on their feet, we do ask that they come once a month,” Boks said. “If we can help people keep their pets so they don’t end up in the shelter, that’s a win-win.”

People sometimes surrender their pets because they can no longer afford to feed and care for them, Boks said.

That number seems to have remained pretty flat in recent months.

People often drop off pet food at the shelter, but it’s usually a bag or two at a time.

“People have been very, very generous,” he said. “A lot of people want to help the Humane Society and assume we need food.”

But it’s not healthy for animals to switch their food frequently, so all the donated food is given away, Boks said.

“We need a steady diet for health reasons,” he said. “We purchase our own food.”

A Boy Scout who wishes to achieve the Eagle Scout rank, the highest rank there is, has to complete a project before his 18th birthday.

Richardson, who will be a senior at Mt. Spokane High School this fall, said he originally planned to rebuild a rotting fence at a church playground before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change in plans.

“It involved a lot of people working a lot closer together,” he said of his original project.

Richardson decided to do a pet food drive instead, and put his American Staffordshire terrier Kupono on a flyer he circulated asking for donations.

“I really like animals and it doesn’t involve too much human contact,” he said. “We took them door -to -door in some neighborhoods, just left them under door mats and in screen doors.”

The flyers asked people to put any pet food they wanted to donate out on their porch a week later. On the appointed day Richardson and his helpers drove around the neighborhoods and picked the bags up. Richardson said he wasn’t expecting to collect 890 pounds.

“I was pretty surprised,” he said. “I was going for 500 pounds of food. That went above and beyond.”

Some people also gave cash donations. Richardson consulted with the Humane Society and used the cash to purchase the brands of cat and dog food the shelter feeds its animals.

Richardson said he’s glad he was able to help animals with his Eagle Scout project.

“I’m really happy how things turned out,” he said. “It was a pretty good project and had good results.”

Boks said he’s grateful for such a generous donation. “This is quite a windfall,” he said. “We had to rearrange our warehouse to make room for it.”

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