Animal Disaster Team responds during COVID-19

Published: 7/1/2020 2:23:40 PM
Modified: 7/1/2020 2:23:33 PM

The Central Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Team (CMDART) delivered N95 masks, personal protection equipment, and pet food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, the team is deployed to help with emergency animal sheltering or helping with local fires and or man-made or natural disasters. Since people were sheltering in place during this pandemic, the team had to seek out other ways to serve the communities in Worcester County.

CMDART had a small supply of N95 surgical masks and PPE to be used for future decontamination disaster needs. CMDART volunteers decided to distribute most of their supply of masks and Tyvek suits to local Central Massachusetts COVID-19 healthcare workers including the Milford Hospital, Tri-Valley Elders, the Salmon Health and Beaumont Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, and Leominster UMass Hospital as well as to some of the local animal control officers.

While the need for human food distribution grew at an alarming rate, few were thinking about the needs of pet owners and food for animals, according to several food pantries contacted by CMDART volunteers. “Several pantries we contacted said they hadn’t had a chance to think about pet food”, said Jennifer Johnston, one of the coordinators of the CMDART food pantry project.

CMDART wanted to help some of the smaller food pantries in Central Mass during the COVID-19 stay-at-home advisory. Volunteers compiled a list of the region’s pantries and called to see which had a need for pet food. Most had not included dog or cat food in their distributions and said they were very happy to receive the donations. Some of the pantries were serving more than 100 families. The Mane Place, Hannaford Grocery, South County Chiropractic, and private volunteer donors helped with the pet food project.

Brenda Brown, coordinator of the Ashburnham Community Church food pantry said 22 pet owners benefited by some of the pet food delivered to their pantry from CMDART.

“Their furry friends were quite excited” Brenda said.

CMDART seeking Board of Director applicants

The team is currently expanding its core group of volunteer board members to help continue the success of its mission. To submit an application to volunteer or inquire about our non-profit, contact The team is specifically seeking a clerk to help with record keeping and other administrative duties for the organization. A volunteer job description is available.

To get more information about CMDART and to donate, go to the website at

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