We are a nation of pet and animal lovers; however, we don’t often consider how many people are struggling to feed their pets, especially during the past incredibly difficult year. Giorgia Lauren Davies, a Hartley Wintney resident, decided to start the Hartley Wintney Pet Food Bank due to the lack of support available in times of crisis for pet owners.
Giorgia told CommunityAd what made her decide to start the Hartley Wintney Pet Food Bank, “When the first lockdown hit and many people were furloughed, or lost their jobs I had so many people contacting me asking can I rehome their pet via Pineapple Pet Sanctuary. They all had one issue in common, that they just couldn’t afford it anymore. All of these people loved their pets and so many rescues locally are full, or due to most fosters having their own pets are unable to take pets that aren’t socialised. Most importantly people deserve to keep their pets and their pets deserve a forever home.”
In June 2020, Giorgia started to order that ‘little bit extra’ every time she ordered food for her own three dogs and would share what she had with others. She was driving around and dropping pet food, leads, collars, in her own time when she met Sue and Tony Lawrence who discovered what she was doing. Sue decided to tell people locally and people started donating; by November 2020, she had started her Facebook group (Hartley Wintney Pet Food Bank) and it has catapulted since then.
Giorgia has three dogs herself; Bailey, her Dogue de Bordeaux, rescued 3 years ago; Rosie, her Staffordshire Bull Terrier, rescued 2 years ago; and Tank, her pug, who is 12. She also has a beautiful tortoise called VoldeTORT. All of her pets have come to her from homes that could no longer take care of them.
Her two fantastic children, Elsie-Lil (3) and Camden-Paul (8) are incredibly supportive and both regularly come out on foodbank deliveries with Giorgia and help out in their free-time. Greenfields Junior School supports Camden-Paul in his efforts and they also help Giorgia in fundraising for different dog rescues.
CommunityAd found out about Giorgia’s hard work in the community and has highlighted how important it is to support the community in the best way possible.
You have 215 members in the group, which is fantastic; have you had a good response from the community?
Yes! I cannot stress enough how fantastic, amazing, kind, supportive, understanding, and GENEROUS everyone has been. We have people donating in Fleet, Yateley, Hartley Wintney, Hook, and Farnborough. The neighbours on my estate have been fantastic, and dropped off so much, shared my page, and just generally shown their support. My own neighbour lets us use her parking space for people to park in to drop items off, and people who want to come and talk. I have an amazing team of ladies who help behind the scenes, Sue and Tony Lawrence are always dropping food off and have a collection point for us. Sue Lowe has an amazing van so collects a lot of food for us and Deborah Sumner has a collection (drop off) point in Farnborough and a lot of anonymous donators. Emma Jayne Griffiths has recently moved to the estate and will soon be joining the team, she currently donates dog food, shampoo, and anything else dogs may need. Sally Woodcock of Two By Two pet care in Frimley also collects food for us.
I also get regular donations from the spectacular Regan Clark who does amazing work running Next Chapter Animal Rescue based in Camberley and Forthglade Natural Pet Food, recently sent me a large donation of pet food that is good for all of our dogs; I was shocked at how much they donated, and how much they support the foodbank.
I also had the most amazing support from Becca Inglis of Dunelm in Farnborough and her community support work; they donated lots of quilts and pillows for our pets throughout the winter months.
Have there been any unique/funny/interesting requests?
Yes! We had a lovely Labrador who absolutely loved blueberries, so I take him a tray of organic blueberries round when I drop his food off, as he’s on a low-calorie diet and these are an amazing treat for him.
Has the pandemic/lockdown had a significant impact on pets/animals in need in the community and if so, how?
Yes, very much so. People have lost businesses, have had their wages slashed due to furlough, have lost their homes, and lost any support network they had. People were unable to seek help to have their dogs walked who needed help (due to disability), people are unable to afford food, people struggle to find pet friendly landlords so are unable to take their dogs if they have been made homeless.