Pets are companions for everyone. But for the homeless, although they provide love and care for them, it’s not easy giving them necessary pet care. A recent research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that an average homeless person eats only 14 meals a week, which is a struggle to feed two mouths.

Which is why a certain charity helps those who are most in need.

Pets of the Homeless Australia (POTH) was founded by Yvonne Hong in 2015 after she spent several years volunteering at soup kitchens. Hong started funding her own supplies and used social media to share the stories of homeless people and their pets, and ever since then, donations started pouring in. Today, there are more than 50 drop-off locations across Victoria.

“Their pets are like their family, they often have no one else who is with them all the time and provides that love and companionship without any judgement,” Hong said, noting that the unconditional love and support pets give people should not be underestimated.

Since POTH started, Hong said they have provided more than 160,000 meals to pets in need. She explained that providing food for pets will help their hoomans focus on eating nutritious food for themselves, because many homeless people often prioritize feeding their pets.

“There was a food pantry that we approached for them to distribute pet food and they initially said no. Then one day, the man who runs this food pantry saw a gentleman sleeping on the doorsteps of a church and he had a dog with him, and he saw him opening a can of soup and instead of eating it himself, he was feeding it to his dog,” Hong says. “He could see that pets were so important that people would rather feed their pets before they did anything to help themselves.”

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