This past month, Step Up volunteer Korinne helped to create a Pet Kit drive for Step Up members and their companion pets. Having a pet is one great way to reduce social isolation and create support for people experiencing homelessness and a mental health condition. Korinne, a Culver City mom of two small children, is a longtime pet owner herself and understood the acute need for this kind of pet connection. After talking with Step Up staff about our members and their pets, she envisioned an individual kit containing cat or dog food, pee pads, and a few fun extras like collars and toys.
A longtime pet owner, Korinne’s family dog passed away at 16 years old lastyear. Their family is just now planning to get a new puppy after Labor Day. During the pandemic, even her family of four are really recognizing the need for additional companionship while coping with social distancing. “I know how many people are alone right now, so pets are really important.” Because Korinne’s husband Victor works for LAHSA (Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority) she also knows that many unsheltered individuals have pets they need to feed, “Usually we think about giving to the individual, but that person may also have a pet companion with needs.”
Korinne ultimately delivered an incredible 50 Pet Kits in July and August to Step Up’s Los Angeles offices that were immediately distributed to eager members and their pet companions. “I think pets are a great opportunity for building relationships and finding community when you’re in isolation. Especially with a pet,there is that consistent love that is provided no matter how you’re feeling while going through the pandemic’s ups and downs. The pet offers that support and stabilization. “
If you’d like to create a Pet Kit for Step Up members, please contact Community Engagement Coordinator, Carolyn Healy. email@example.com