Spring 2011

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Food 4 Paws: Helping Families Feed Their Pets

What would you do if you had to choose between feeding yourself or your beloved pet? Many individuals face this heartbreaking decision every day, but through the Food 4 Paws Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas, you can help families struggling with economic hardships to provide for their dogs and cats.

The initiative for developing the program at the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) came from CFT donor and longtime pet lover, Astrid Merriman. “In these difficult economic times, people and their pets are suddenly at risk,” Merriman said. “The Food 4 Paws program makes it possible to keep families together, including their pets.”

By leveraging its existing relationships with member agency food pantries, NTFB plans to seamlessly integrate the solicitation and distribution of pet food into its current operational model. The Food 4 Paws program will allow families receiving assistance through pantry programs to feed their precious pets as they are facing financial hardships. 

“We estimate that the program will make a total of 1.5 million pounds of pet food available through local food pantries in the first three years of operation,” said Jan Pruitt, president and CEO of NTFB.

CFT is working closely with donors who have an interest in Food 4 Paws to raise the funds needed to implement this three-year pilot program. Merriman and her husband, Pat, recently hosted a cocktail reception at their home to generate awareness and funding for the program. They have generously provided a $60,000 matching gift to encourage others to support the cause. To date, almost half of the $365,000 needed to launch the program has been raised.


 Pat and Astrid Merriman at home with Schatzie and Bella.

Photographer: Gail Nogle

How You Can Help


  • Donor-advised fund holders may make a grant recommendation to the Food 4 Paws Fund.
  • Make checks payable to Food 4 Paws Fund and mail to Communities Foundation of Texas, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane Dallas, TX 75225.
  • Donate online at www.cftexas.org/NetCommunity/Food4Paws. To learn more about Food 4 Paws, call (214) 750-4222.