Photo courtesy of CPP. CPP has helped over 450 pets since 2017. CPP provides for the pets of the homeless and at-risk residents of Hillsborough County.

Community Pet Project (CPP) began in June 2017 as a division of a local rescue organization. Their mission is to provide for the pets of the homeless and at-risk residents of Hillsborough County. They distribute food, treats, collars, leashes, flea preventative, wormer, grooming supplies, toys and information regarding veterinary care and low-cost spay and neuter surgeries as well as transportation to and from the surgery, if needed.

In June 2018, Community Pet Project Inc. became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, standing on its own. Their vision is to keep the pets happy and healthy and out of the already overpopulated county shelter.

CPP has helped over 450 pets with everything from food and flea meds, to referrals for medical care. They rely 100 percent on donations from the community and local businesses that believe in their mission.They also hold fundraisers throughout the year.

“Many people believe that if you can’t afford your pet, you shouldn’t have one,” said CPP volunteer Mary Collister. “What we fail to remember is that we don’t know the reason behind them becoming homeless and we should give them credit for not turning their backs on their pets. We also fail to remember that many times these pets are the only family that these people have. They become the only reason these people get up in the morning.”

CPP has been invited to attend the Homeless Outreach Events that are sponsored and coordinated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department, the Tampa Police Department, Temple Terrace Police and law enforcement from the airport. This is where CPP distributes supplies and food to the pet owners. In between quarterly events, they keep in contact with clients to see if they need anything else, and clients can also reach out to CPP at any time if they are in need. They currently have 18 active volunteers.

According to Collister, CPP is always looking for support from community members and businesses as well as more volunteers. “If you are able to help, even with a small donation of cash, gift card, product or service, it would be greatly appreciated,” said Collister. “If you are interested, let us know. You can help us make a difference in a pet’s life and in your community.”

For more information, and for a list of event dates, you can visit www.communitypetproject.org. You can also follow CPP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/communitypetproject and on Instagram CommunityPetProject).