Rhonda Eldridge, Executive Director of The Community Pet Project

by | Jun 5, 2024

Rhonda Eldridge–Executive Director of The Community Pet Project, which provides pet food and several other resources to homeless and at-risk communities throughout Hillsborough County—discusses the organization’s origin story, beginning in 2017 as an offshoot of a local rescue, before peeling off as a separate entity with 501c3 nonprofit status. The Community Pet Project was launched as, and remains, an all-volunteer operation. No one, including Eldridge, accepts any compensation, in order to direct all available monies to carrying out their mission. As for how that mission was conceived, Eldridge explains that at the outset of their efforts, it became clear that a sizable contingent of their homeless constituency not only owned pets, but maintained an unwavering attachment to them. Eldridge slips into an impassioned scene, responding to what’s clearly a composite character of snooty, insensitive folks who criticize the allocation of resources to homeless people with pets. Indeed, she describes how simple it can actually be for them to provide pet food to someone who is currently without housing, suggesting The Community Pet Project is highly flexible and accommodating, fully willing to deliver the food to, say, a park or a street corner. Eldridge outlines the programs and services The Community Pet Project now offers, including its Food Bank, Veterinary Financial Assistance, Fleece for the Furbabies, Warrior Cats of Hillsborough, and the newly-unveiled Save The Paw Paws (which provides booties to the to the dogs of the homeless, to protect their paws amidst blazing temperatures) She explains The Community Pet Project welcomes donations—whether monetary, food, other items—through its website or social media pages: http://www.communitypetproject.org/, https://www.facebook.com/communitypetproject, https://www.instagram.com/communitypetproject/

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Chef Mark Reinfeld, the award-winning vegan chef, educator, author, and guest on the show many times over the years. Today’s appearance was spurred by Reinfeld’s announcement that he’ll be teaching in-person cooking classes for the first time in many a moon—the pause owing, chiefly, to the pandemic, Reinfeld explained. It’s important to note these classes will be held in Boulder, Colorado, while also mentioning that other new courses he’s offering continue to be available via Zoom—namely, the 4-Week Vegan Cooking Immersion, a workshop starting August 19 that Reinfeld describes as “a deep dive in the main vegan and raw food culinary techniques….” Elaborating on the $1000 scholarship he’ll provide, on a need basis, for someone enrolling in the August workshop, he added that he will also discount the registration fee for those who mention Duncan Strauss/Talking Animals. Reinfeld also spelled out plans underway to put past cooking classes, workshops, and other content online, allowing visitors that head to a revamped website (for the Vegan Fusion Institute) to access that wealth of instruction and information. (https://www.chefmarkreinfeld.com)


COMEDY CORNER: Joe Zimmerman’s “Pet Snakes”  (Pt. 1/DS edit) (http://www.zimmermancomedy.com/)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


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