You can achieve a lot as a community if you come together to help those in need. Living proof of this is the small community of Buckeye, Arizona.
Thousands of area animals have received much-needed pet food and supplies thanks to the ongoing efforts of a local nonprofit and Chewy employees who work at a nearby fulfillment center.
Every two weeks, Chewy donates about 15,000 pounds of pet food, toys and other pet supplies, and then Community Paws, a nonprofit animal advocacy group, distributes the items to those in need. Since the partnership began last summer, they have helped 7,000 pets, says Sarah Taylor, founder of Community Paws.
“People have texted me saying, ‘I didn’t know how I was going to feed my dog this month,’” Taylor says. “These donations have made a monumental difference. They have been the difference between life or death for some pets.”
It all started in June 2018 when Peter Kim, assistant general manager at Chewy’s Goodyear, Arizona, fulfillment center, was tasked with finding a nonprofit to receive donations of excess inventory.
It didn’t take long for Kim to think of Community Paws. He had experienced Community Paws’ good work firsthand three years prior when he adopted his third dog, Sedona, through the nonprofit. Sedona came from a litter of puppies born to a stray dog Taylor had brought in from off the streets.
“I suggested Sarah Taylor and Community Paws [because] it was an organization that I found to have the highest level of integrity, attention to detail and passion for animals,” Kim says. “Based on our experience, we were certain that every donation we provided to Community Paws would be maximized and have the biggest impact for all local animals in need.”
Taylor gladly welcomed the donations, knowing how much of an impact they could make on the community, and quickly set to work figuring out the logistics: how would she be able to pick up so many donations? How would she get the pet supplies to the people who need them? She had to find volunteers, trailers and a location to distribute these donations.
Through her hard work, it all came together. Taylor works with Jay Mills, an inventory operations manager at the Chewy fulfillment center, and his team to schedule bi-weekly pickups. The donations are put in a trailer driven by a volunteer truck driver, who then brings them to a local high school. There, Taylor and other volunteers divide the supplies up for the various rescues and families receiving the items that week. Then the recipients, who are all evaluated and approved by Taylor, come to the high school to pick up their donated goods.
“Sarah has been amazing in communicating with both Chewy and with all local and statewide animal rescues, as well as organizing all of the logistics and execution of each distribution pick-up and event,” Kim says.
Mills echoes Kim’s statement.
“She’s probably one of the better human beings in my life,” Mills says. “She’s good; I trust her. I never expected her to go this far.”
The donations help more than 70 rescues in Arizona as well as 140 families in need. It’s a pretty rural area, so it’s common for families to have over 10 animals on their property, Taylor explains.
Cheryl King Wade, executive director for Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds in Buckeye, Arizona, says the donations are extremely helpful for her organization.
“Every penny that comes in is another penny that we could use in other ways,” Wade says, explaining that when she receives donations for pet supplies, she’s able to spend money in other ways, like vet care.
Taylor refuses to take all the credit. None of this could happen without everybody in the community coming together, she says.
“It just blows us away that this many people are willing to step up to help,” Taylor says. “Whenever we need anyone to help, someone is there to help us. We are extremely fortunate, and I believe when you do good, you get good.”
Lindsay Schencker, BeChewy Associate Editor
The moment Lindsay started her career here at Chewy, she hit the ground running in customer service; she knew that this is the company she wanted to grow with from then on. When Lindsay isn’t spending her time writing for BeChewy, she’s most likely binge-watching a Netflix series and cuddling up with her 80-pound fur baby, Dexter. Featured Image: Courtesy of Sarah Taylor