Animal food bank struggles with broken bus and seeks support for new one

At the animal food bank they are at a loss. They have a pet food collection van that they can pick up here and there, but it is old and keeps breaking down. “Now the radiator is broken again. We have had the bus since 2022 and since then we have already paid three times the cost price in repairs,” says Shanon Schepens of the foundation in Sint-Michelsgestel.

They can’t miss the bus at the Dierennoodhulp Noord-Brabant/Pet Support foundation, as the charity is called in full. The food that they can collect from here and there throughout the province weighs tens, if not hundreds, of kilos. “We sometimes use private cars, but then you have to drive up and down three times,” says Schepens.

It’s not just the distance that the volunteers have to cover that is a problem, because they have to carry around all those bags of food: “We no longer have to go to the gym for strength training,” Schepens jokes.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult and the need is increasing.”

“In the short term we hope to be able to afford a larger bus, but if we always have to spend on repairs, it won’t make any progress,” Schepens complains. “It is becoming increasingly difficult and the need is increasing. Last month, 30 applications were added in Eindhoven.” The foundation covers a large area in the province. From Oss to Eindhoven, requests for animal food are received, as well as reports from pet stores that want to donate food.

“But we also work together with other organizations,” Schepens continues. “We also help homeless people with pets and in Oss we work with Bon Appetit, which is a food bank for minimum income.” And that’s not all. “Next week we will open a new distribution point in Vught. We have a few hundred people who we help with animal feed. Poverty is everywhere.”

“Keeping pets should not only be for a small group of people”

That is why the foundation would like a new bus, with a large tailgate. They expect that this will require ten to 15,000 euros. Extra sad if they have to spend money on repairs to the old bus. “We receive zero-point-zero euro subsidy from municipalities, we really have to rely on donations,” Schepens calculates.

The foundation will write to funds that help charities to ask for support. “Fortunately, we have regular donors and there are many great animal lovers. It should not become a luxury problem. Pets can mean more than a psychologist, keeping pets should not only become rich for a small group,” says Schepens.

People who want to contribute to a suitable car for the animal food bank can do so via the donation campaign.