Donate Garden Veggies to Your Local Animal Shelter

By Nancy Hassel,

Recently a friend on Facebook who is a volunteer at a local municipal shelter near me posted if any of her local friends that are growing vegetable gardens have any “leafy greens; such as Kale, Mint, Basil, Arugula, Spinach, Parsley, Romaine Lettuce, Cilantro and non-leafy veggies such as Carrots, Bell Peppers, Zucchini, Broccoli, Cabbage or Squash.” She went on to explain that the shelter has 14 rabbits and 3 guinea pigs there waiting for homes and that they would love fresh greens and veggies.

Usually, we think of what the dogs and cats may need at the shelter and donations go that route. It never occurred to me what an overabundance of rabbits at a shelter would like as a healthy snack.

So being that I grow a few varieties of lettuce greens each summer, that were about to ‘go to flower’ I thought this was a great way to bring their animals some fresh greens – instead of just throwing them into the compost pail. And I wanted to plant a new crop of greens for fresh salads through the remainder of the summer and fall (lettuce does great in the cooler weather). I plant in pots – so even if you have a small amount it can go a long way.

I would suggest if you do have fresh greens or vegetables, to call your local animal shelter to see if they would be interested in them before you go there with your baskets of greens to drop off at the animal shelter, or in my case large zip lock bags with the greens stems in water.

If you do any type of vegetable gardening you know the abundance that even one plant can produce. I am sure someone has tried to give you a bunch of zucchini, cucumbers or tomatoes by now!

In the fall, after pumpkin season, you may have a bunch of pumpkins that you just don’t know what to do with. Instead of tossing them in the garbage, find out if any local rescue farms or sanctuaries have animals that would love the pumpkins. You may be surprised even in suburbia or city living, there is more than likely a farm not too far from you that has hungry animals that have a taste for all those pumpkins.

There may even be a place that organizes the drop-off, and distribution of said pumpkins to the sanctuaries. A few years ago a local pet supply store did just that, they would collect pumpkins for about two weeks after Halloween and load up a pick-up truck to bring them out to a local farm sanctuary. They would collect hundreds and hundreds of pumpkins each year.

So maybe it is something you and your community can organize?

Of course, after dropping off the lettuce and visiting with the bunnies up for adoption, I had some cat treats that I donated and went to meet some of the cats and kittens in the catios! It is kitten season, seemingly a lot longer into the summer season these days, and they had a bunch of kittens waiting for homes.

One cuter than the next.

We all heard during the pandemic that so many people adopted pets which was wonderful to see and hear about. However, shelters across the country are once again overflowing with pets for adoption or foster. If you can open your home to a pet or two, it would really help ease some of the burdens that are on our animal shelters and rescue groups.

These two kittens were especially friendly, and the black cat was purring up a storm. Have you ever seen a chocolate-colored kitten? That kitten was stunning and desperate to get out of the kennel it was in and find a new home.

One last tip would be, if you can’t foster or adopt, call your local animal shelters and see if they need volunteers to walk the dogs, care for the kittens, help with social media, and so on. Ask if they are in need of donations – often shelters have wishlists that they will direct you to online, or they may receive donations regularly.

If you have any comments or suggestions on how you help your local shelter or rescue, please comment below!

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