NEW PORT RICHEY — Cats, dogs and other pets often become part of the family for many West Pasco residents.
Yet senior residents on fixed incomes can struggle to pay for pet food while also putting food on their own dinner table.
So Cindy's Pets organizers are gearing up for its second annual fundraiser at Sims Park on Saturday, Jan. 18, starting with the Dog Walk and People Run around Orange Lake.
The nonprofit group provides food for the pets of seniors who are in the Meals on Wheels program in Pasco County, according to Melissa Nurrenbrock, head of Genesis School, a chief benefactor for Cindy's Pets.
Volunteers meet monthly for packing parties at North Trinity Self-Storage, 4134 Little Road. Earlier this month, they put together Christmas gift bags for more than 90 seniors. Sisters Hannah Reed, 11, and Emily Reed, 8, were among helpers, as well as Serena Mitchell, 11.
The dog walk and show helps publicize the great need and pay part of expenses, organizers stress.
In 2012 alone, about 12,000 pounds of dry dog and cat food was delivered, as well as some canned food for cats and dogs, as well as about 360 pounds of bird feed.
Tthe 5K run for people starts at 7:30 a.m., with timed and other awards for winners. The fee is $30. The Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m. as an activity for the whole family, whether walking or running. The fee costs $15.
At 10 a.m., the Dog Walk takes place around nearby Orange Lake as owners can treat pets to lots of fun activities. The fee costs $15.
The event concludes with the Fun Dog Show at 11 a.m., during which people can show off their dogs. Owners can enter pets in contests such as best tail wagging, most original costume, terrific pet tricks, best smoocher and many more. The fee is $25 for unlimited categories or $5 per category.
For information or forms go to www.cindyspets.org. To register go to www.active.com. Call the Genesis School East Campus at (727) 372-9333.