People say the economy is on the upswing, "but for many, it's not," said Mary Louk of Boardman, who has founded an organization to address a need for such families in the area.
Enter A Call Fur Help, Inc., a registered Ohio nonprofit organization founded by Louk, its executive director, to alleviate the distress of impoverished pet owners in Mahoning, Columbiana, and Trumbull counties and surrounding areas.
A newly formed animal charity, according to information provided by Louk, "A Call Fur Help has a mission to relieve financial burdens of those family members most easily overlooked - the pets. With plans to provide financial, material, and service-related assistance for area pet owners who are struggling or unable to provide their companion animals with food and veterinary needs, we feel that pet ownership shouldn't be a luxury available only for the wealthy," said Louk. "Too many companion animals are homeless as it is. Anyone who has the time and desire to open their home should be able to do that," she said.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Mary Louk, founder and executive director of A Call Fur Help, Inc., a registered Ohio nonprofit organization intent on alleviating the burdens of impoverished pet owners in Mahoning, Columbiana, and Trumbull counties and surrounding areas, is pictured with rescue dog, George.
Louk shared that while most pet rescues and shelters focus on the adoption of homeless animals, A Call Fur Help aims to keep dogs and cats in their homes. "This fills in an existing gap in the Valley, as few resources are currently available for struggling pet owners," she said.
Explaining that she had been volunteering with area rescues and saw the need, Louk said that while she enjoyed her work at the shelters, she thought that it was important that rescues need to do what rescues should do, and, intent on addressing existing pet owners in need of assistance, in February of 2013, she founded A Call Fur Help, Inc.
Recognizing that many animals are surrendered to shelters and rescues not out of apathy or neglect, but out of financial necessity, Louk said, "Families with strained budgets and senior citizens on fixed incomes can greatly benefit from the companionship and stress relief provided by a pet, but may not be able to afford basic necessities for themselves, let alone a dog or cat. The organization aims to prevent the homeless animal population from growing needlessly, by providing support to owners who have no desire to surrender their pets."
Currently accepting both monetary donations and those of canned and dry dog and cat foods, which will be distributed through applications for aid as well as a local church-run food pantry, Louk said current donation drop-off sites include First Place Bank inside the Struthers IGA, and Family Video in Girard, and added that she is working to spread out donation sites throughout the areas. Louk shared that as the list of sites builds, she said she is happy to meet with donors or pick up donations.
Having grown from herself and three others, A Call Fur Help, Inc. is now comprised of eight to 10 volunteers, and according to Louk, will need additional assistance with upcoming fundraisers, such as the organization's Bocce Tournament, to be held June 1 at the Mount Carmel Society in Lowellville.
"Future operations will expand to include assistance with vet bills, both for preventative medications and services for illness and injury, as well as educational outreach programs designed to maintain the health and well-being of pets," said Louk.
For more information or to apply for assistance, a Facebook page is available at Facebook.com/ACallFurHelpInc.