SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- One local organization has received a large donation of pet food.

This comes at a time when many have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may be in need.

Western Mass News checked in to see how these donations are helping the community.

“Animals are such an integral part, and bring so much to peoples lives. That this program, even though it’s pet food -- it really supports people,” said Carmine DiCenso, executive director of the Dakin Humane Society.

Help is here for pet owners in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dakin Humane Society has been given 43,000 pounds of dog and cat food from the GreaterGood organization.

DiCenso told Western Mass News this donation helps not only the animals, but an entire community.

“Allows people to stay with their animals, and that animal can then give them the love and support that they need. So this is really a people program too,” DiCenso said.

Dakin has a system set up for anyone interested in picking up food for their pets.

“You can sign up and just make an appointment online,” DiCenso said.

Cars can pull up into a slot, call in and an employee will come out to and put the pet food in the trunk.

DiCenso said this procedure ensures that social distancing guidelines are followed.

“We can do this without contact. What we don't want to happen, or what we cant have happen, is people just showing up at our door. People need to social distance, and we don't want to encourage crowds, so we are doing it by appointment,” she said.

Dakin is providing each pet owner with a month’s supply of food. DiCenso said this is an effort to minimize how often people have to travel.

“We should all be isolating ourselves and only going out for essentials. So we don't want people to have to come back weekly to get food,” she said.

As many people around the area have lost their jobs, DiCenso said the organization has seen an uptick in the need for pet food.

“We certainly are seeing more people in need. Obviously there is going to be a direct correlation, when we see the number of people unemployed right now, the businesses closed so we know there this going to be a direct correlation in people trying to get,” she said.

Dakin is happy to help.

“Animals mean so much to us, and to be able to keep people and animals together and give support through food so people don’t have to worry about that -- one thing at a time. They are worrying about so much. Just glad to be able to provide that,” DiCenso said.

Copyright 2020.  Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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