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Caring for our service friends

CHECKING SUPPLIES: Mount Gambier Service dog Indy was more than happy to check over the new delivery.

Elsie Adamo

LOCAL veterans in hardship will now be able to receive free food for their service animals after a special delivery from the region’s Animal Rescue Collective (ARC) hub.

ARC South Australian Coordinator Rebecca Alexander dropped off a ute full of animal food and supplies to for the Veterans Service’s Hub for the first time on Tuesday.

The food will be able to help keep any dogs of veterans well fed and looked after.

Limestone Coast Veterans Services Hub volunteer Laurie Mann was only expecting to receive a few bags of dog food, so was surprised by the generous donation.

“It is just fantastic, it should be able to last us all for a while,” Mr Mann said.

“We did not even reach out to them, ARC got in contact with us and asked if it could be useful.”

Mr Mann had to redirect the donation to his home for storage, as the generous amount of dog food was too large to keep at the office.

You may not be as familiar with ARC as some other animal welfare organisations, but Ms Alexander’s efforts are responsible for helping supply many organizations in the region with the animal food they can give out to their clients.

An entirely volunteer-run organisation, ARC helps support animal rescue programmes. They do not give out their supplies to individuals, but help funnel them to the organizations that can help supply it to those in the community that need it most.

Recently Ms Alexander’s ARC Hub has supplied animal food, supplies and medicine locally for the Salvation Army, Uniting Communities, Red Cross,, Sunset Community Kitchen and now the Veterans Service Hub.

And the demand for ARC services locally is increasing according to Ms Alexander.

“During Covid-19 it started to increase,” she said.

“We have found just this year with the rental shortages and cost of living going up more and more people cannot to feed their animals.

“We are getting more requests from the Limestone Coast organizations to see if they can get any food.”

Ms Alexander currently resides in Glencoe, and has always had a passion for animal welfare. She became involved after she saw gaps in the services available in the region. She also runs the Orphan Lamb Rescue Fund out of her home.

“The regional and remote areas of South Australia often get forgotten,” Ms Alexander said.

“Because they are so far away from the capital cities it is hard to get products down here.”

Ms Alexander is not only the only ARC member in the Limestone Coast but is also the South Australia coordinator and national transport logistics coordinator. She said the work keeps her very busy.

“I am managing a couple of small kids, part-time work and ARC,” she said.

“We move hundreds and hundreds of pallets nationally around our hubs.”

Recently Ms Alexander’s attention has been helping out with the emergency support for flood-affected areas.

“We have dropped hundreds of pallets of cat and dog food up to Lismore since the floods started,” she said.

“We have supplied hay to farmers, food for wildlife animals. We have been supplying vets with medical products so they can treat the injured animals for free.”

Ms Alexander said she finds the emergency support work especially fulfilling.

“During the Lucindale, Coles and Wrattonbully fires we supplied the farmers with dog food,” she said.

“That was something we could quickly get our hands on to help out.

“You could not find more grateful people, they did not expect to receive anything.”

But Ms Alexander said some extra help would be really useful.

“We are always looking for more volunteers if there is anyone out there who is interested,” she said.

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