Nonprofit gives away free pet food

LAWRENCEVILLE - With the economy forcing people to cut corners, sometimes it's the four-legged friends that get left behind.

But a local nonprofit hopes to help people keep their pets by providing free food.

Volunteers will hold an open house for Daffy's Pet Soup Kitchen, part of SOS Club of Georgia. At the event, people can help stock the warehouse on Oakland Industrial Court in Lawrenceville with food and other pet supplies.

Tom Wargo, who heads the soup kitchen, said he's heard of cases where people take the tuna and canned meat from their own food supply to keep their dogs from going hungry. In the worst cases, people sometimes choose to live in their cars rather than move in with relatives who won't allow their pets.

"I wanted to help the individuals keep their pets at their home, so they don't have to give them up to the shelter," he said, adding that the volunteers are also building a kennel at a domestic violence shelter and have other pet-related projects.

"A lot of people are too proud to go to the co-ops and places like that. They are too proud to go for themselves, but they'll come to us for help for their pets," said Wargo, who named the charity after his own pooch. "Their pets are like their kids. They'll do anything they can to keep their pets."

The organization has agreements with veterinarians to help with pet health care and at some veterinarians vouchers for free food at the soup kitchen are given to every owner that gets their pet spayed or neutered.

Wargo said he knows the charity has already helped hundreds, but he sees the kitchen as an opportunity to reach even more people.

"For every person we don't help, that's another dog that goes to the shelter," he said. "Once we get the doors open we'll be able to help a lot more."

The open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and it includes raffles. For more information, go to www.daffyspetsoupkitchen.com.