We recently interviewed Sara Ford, Director of Fund Development for COA, the Christian Outreach Association about the new “COA for Animals” program.
The nondenominational, nonprofit organization has been serving the Long Beach community for more than 30 years and recently decided to expand its reach to helping pets. As a partner in this exciting program to help Long Beach pets, we wanted to learn more about what triggered the already busy nonprofit to assist animals so, we called up the COA and Ms. Ford kindly obliged us with an interview.
Kriddr: So how did COA for Animals come about?
Ford: In March of this year, 2016, the idea was brought about by one of our dedicated volunteers, Martha [Ciattei], who is extremely passionate about animals in general but particularly homeless animals. She does a lot of work with cats in Long Beach. So she found COA and she started to see a need for pets of the homeless, and what she found was that many of the pet owners were feeding their pets before they were feeding themselves. So sometimes they would take the food from our food bank and you start to feed 20 stray cats that were their own, so she saw that need and, a lot like our founder [Dixie Dohrman], Martha decided to take action. So, she started bringing pet food to our regularly scheduled food bank and the rest is kind of history.
Kriddr: Okay. You just said, “many of the pet owners feed their pets before feeding themselves.” Is that correct?
Ford: It’s hard to make blanket statements, but I think there are definitely two different types of people and how they treat animals when they fall on hard times. There are people who get evicted or move out or something horrible happens and they’re on the streets, and they leave their animals behind because they can’t deal with taking care of themselves, let alone another living thing. And then, there’s actually a whole other population, which I would say is mostly the people that we serve, who are so dedicated to their animals because their animals are their best friends, their therapists, their everything…It’s unconditional love. Animals give us unconditional love and, people who are down on their luck and have no one else, sometimes that unconditional love is the only thing that gets them through every day.
Kriddr: COA is doing amazing work with both people in need and pets in need. We’re happy to partner with COA for Animals.
Ford: COA is so grateful for Kriddr’s support of our new pet food program, and they really are starting a model of kind of a social and entrepreneurship, and responsible entrepreneurship, which is something that’s really important and it’s definitely setting an example for other new companies moving forward, and we’re excited to see where this new partnership goes.
Thank you Sara Ford, Director of Fund Development for COA, for your time and for all the great work you do and make possible.
If you are interested in learning how you can help COA, please visit their website at www.coalongbeach.org