MURFEESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Beesley Animal Foundation is typically closed on Fridays, but they made an exception on Dec. 9.

“More and more people are calling the clinic saying, ‘Hey, I’m struggling. Can I come get a bag of dog or cat food?'” said Dawn Roberts.

Roberts is the executive director and said the increase in calls from people looking for help with pet food led the foundation to host a free pet food distribution drive-thru event.

“When people are already scrimping by and just living pay check to pay check and then they even get just a small jump in the cost, it really does put a burden on them,” she said.

Roberts said the COVID-19 pandemic and now inflation are impacting many in the area struggling to feed their pets.

“Especially for the homeless population or those facing homelessness, senior citizens, that’s all they have,” she said. “That’s their companion and so we want to be able to make sure that, yes they need their food as well and if we can provide the dog and cat food for them, then that gives them a little peace of mind.”

It’s peace of mind Linda Gossett now has after recently adopting a small kitten.

“It’s definitely difficult,” she said. “Human food is just so incredibly expensive and I’m a disabled senior. I live by myself, but you know I’m making it…I’m making it.”

Reida Cuiroz also has a little peace of mind as she is feeding a family of seven, plus three dogs.

“This is so helpful,” she said. “I mean anything to help us alleviate feeding our pets because I don’t want to feed them (human) food.”

Thanks to sponsors like Purple Paws and volunteers from Central Magnet High School, the foundation was able to purchase and bag nearly 1,000 pounds of pet food.

Roberts’ hope is they can continue hosting events like this to make sure pets in the area get the food they need.

“Everything we work for is trying to keep pets with their homes, pets getting what they need and provide some relief so pet owners can feel a little bit of responsibility and feel good about being able to provide for their pet,” she said.

The foundation was able to provide a little over 190 pounds of pet food to 62 pets in Rutherford County at their event.

If you are interested in learning more about the foundation or making a donation, you can find more information here.