Freshpet, the first-to-market leader in fresh pet food, along with Rainn Wilson, today announced the acceleration of Freshpet’s Fresh Start program during a video conference dubbed, “Zoomies,” bringing together pets from all across the country into one video meeting. The Fresh Start program, which was created to provide support for overlooked cats and dogs who are often deemed unadoptable, was moved from September to April, to meet the growing financial needs of shelters during this time.
“There is so much great work happening at the local level to help care for and place rescue animals into loving homes,” said Meriel’ Peterich, Freshpet spokesperson. “That takes resources. And, while fostering is currently up, donations are down at many shelters as a result of COVID-19. Therefore, we’re launching our Fresh Start program early to help ensure shelters can continue to give animals the care they need.”
Freshpet says it wanted to provide a creative way to launch this year’s Fresh Start program and found that with the partnership with Rainn Wilson and the pet-friendly Zoom video meeting, dubbed “Zoomies.” Wilson is an advocate for rescue organizations and has adopted his own pets from shelters. “With everything that’s happening in the world today, we wanted to launch the Fresh Start program in a way that brought a community of animal lovers together,” added Peterich. “And, if we’re able to be a bring a smile to a day filled with conference calls and video meetings, all the better.”
The Fresh Start initiative, which originally launched in 2018, is open to no-kill 501c3 shelter and rescue organizations operating in the US Nominations are open from April 30 through May 10 via freshpet.com/fresh-start. Following the nomination period, voting will be opened to the public from May 11 through May 17. Winners will be announced on National Dog Rescue Day, on May 20. Grand prize winners will be selected from five different regions across the US — West, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast, and will receive $10,000 each.
Freshpet is supporting the Fresh Start program this year with the “Wunderdogs!” creative campaign. “Wunderdogs!” calls attention to animals in shelters that are often deemed unadoptable. “We want people to look at these animals in a new way,” said Peterich. “So many animals have had a rough start to life, but still have so much love to give, and can become our heroes when they’re adopted. Our goal with the campaign is to remind people that rescue shelters are doing great work, and are filled with amazing animals in need of forever homes.”
The Fresh Start program has resulted in more than $100,000 in contributions to local non-profit organizations in just its first two years. Recipients from last year’s program used the donations to fund medical expenses, rescue animals from poor living conditions and help with general operating costs.