Berkeley Humane Receives Grant from PEDIGREE Foundation to Help Keep Pet Families Together

A woman chats with a client at a food pantry at Berkeley Humane Society
Berkeley Humane is the only shelter in Northern California to be awarded a $10,000 grant from PEDIGREE Foundation focused on helping keep pets and families together through Berkeley Humane’s Pet Food Pantry.

Demand for free pet food still at an all-time high since start of pandemic

August 9, 2022

Contact: Elizabeth Ottinger
Director of Development & Communications 
(510) 845-7735 X211

Berkeley, Calif.—Berkeley Humane (Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society) is the only shelter in Northern California to be awarded a $10,000 grant from PEDIGREE Foundation focused on helping keep pets and families together through Berkeley Humane’s Pet Food Pantry. Prior to the pandemic the Pet Food Pantry distributed approximately 5,000 pounds of food annually. For the past two years the demand has risen to 75,000 pounds annually with no sign of decreasing.  

During the pandemic, Berkeley Humane has experienced a sharp increase in requests for food from the Pet Food Pantry, pointing to the very real financial impact COVID-19 is having on families and people who have few resources. When someone must choose between feeding themselves or feeding their pet, they often will go hungry to make sure their pet is fed. 

“Our work goes beyond facilitating adoptions from our shelter,” said Jeffrey Zerwekh, Executive Director at Berkeley Humane. “We also help keep pets and families together through a comprehensive set of support services that provide vital resources to prevent animals from being surrendered to the public shelter system whenever possible, and food distribution is a big part of this strategy,” said Zerwekh.

The Pet Food Pantry provides the resource boost needed to keep animals out of shelters and in their homes. A two-week supply of pet food is distributed every Sunday morning at the shelter, and through the Berkeley Food Network to pet families that are experiencing temporary financial hardship.

“We know how much people have turned to their pets for unconditional love and support over the past few years and through the PEDIGREE brand’s Essential Support Dogs program and its donation to support these grants, shelters across the country can continue to keep people and pets together through challenging times,” said Kimberly Wise, President of PEDIGREE Foundation. “We’re inspired by the work shelters are doing to drive change in their communities and help deserving dogs find loving homes. Now more than ever, shelters need our support as they are at capacity and are unable to take more dogs under their care. We encourage people to adopt, foster, volunteer or donate to your local shelter to help continue to drive this change and end pet homelessness.”

Berkeley Humane was one of ten organizations nationally to receive Safety Net funding from PEDIGREE Foundation.

Berkeley Humane’s Pet Food Pantry is led by a volunteer effort every Sunday, from 10am 12pm, at 2700 Ninth Street, Berkeley. Pet food is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Other components of Berkeley Humane’s efforts to keep pet families together include a behavior advice line and training classes for dogs, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for owned animals, and a low-cost vaccine clinic for owned animals.

WHO:                   Berkeley Humane (Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society)

WHAT:                 PEDIGREE Foundation awarded a grant for Safety Net Services, including free pet food

WHEN:                 Ongoing. Sundays, 10am 12pm, 2700 Ninth Street, Berkeley

WHY:                    Help keep pets and families together to prevent animals from entering the public shelter system


We believe every dog deserves a loving, forever home. PEDIGREE Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness. About 3.1 million dogs end up in shelters and rescues every year and too many never find a home. The foundation was established in 2008 by Mars Petcare, maker of PEDIGREE® food for dogs, to help increase dog adoption rates. We’ve awarded more than 5,800 grants and nearly $10 million to U.S. shelters and rescues that help dogs in need. At PEDIGREE Foundation, we’re working toward a day when all dogs are safe, secure, cared for, fed well and loved. See how you can help:


With its origins dating back to 1895, today Berkeley Humane serves the people and animals of our community by providing life-saving programs for cats and dogs, cultivating compassion, and strengthening the human-animal bond. With the support of a dedicated and talented volunteer and staff team, Berkeley Humane intakes animals from municipals shelters around the Bay Area who are often in need of medical care, improved nutrition, enrichment and lots of love. Learn more at

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