Food stamps are a touchy political topic, especially this week as the nation bumps up against the sequestration deadline and Republicans are calling for entitlement reforms. This food stamps story, though, is anything but political. Just a few weeks ago Marc Okon founded a new national nonprofit organization, Pet Food Stamps, to provide pet food vouchers to pet owners who are receiving government food stamps.

This is not a government program; I repeat, this is not a government program. This is merely one organization’s attempt to alleviate the animal shelter overcrowding problem in a novel way – ensuring that financially strapped pet owners don’t have to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their pets or surrendering a pet because they are unable to continue to pay for pet food.

The economy is still in recovery mode, and that means that millions of Americans are walking a fine line between having just enough money to make ends meet and bankruptcy. When a family is losing a house to foreclosure, they have to make tough financial decisions, and Okon’s organization is designed to help remove one decision from this equation — surrendering the family pet. 

In just a few short weeks, Pet Food Stamps has been inundated with applications. Once approved, a pet food order will be placed with PetFoodDirect.com and the food will be shipped to the program participant. This is made possible through donations and patrons.

While Okon’s plan to provide pet food to families in need will certainly save the lives of countless pets, his expansion plans will save even more lives. Pet Food Stamps plans to offer free or heavily discounted veterinary care through this program by the fourth quarter of 2013.  

Due to the overwhelming response to the program, the PetFoodStamps.org website has been up and down since I first heard about the program yesterday. If you’re interested in applying to the program or making a donation, please don’t be deterred by the site’s stability issues. 

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