ORLANDO, Fla. — Animal lovers Paul Wean and Joan Reines always wanted to have a ton of effect on their community.

What You Need To Know

  • Orange County Animal Services to give away over 3 tons of pet food

  • Distribution begins noon Wednesday at South Econ Recreation Center

  • Orlando couple joins Don Mealey and Hill’s Science Diet as sponsors

This week, they’re contributing to three times that much.

The Orlando couple is among three sponsors of an Orange County Animal Services effort Wednesday to distribute more than three tons of free pet food to people and pets who need it.

The non-contact drive-thru event begins at noon at Orlando’s South Econ Recreation Center, 3850 S. Econlockhatchee Trail.

Wean and Reines, founders of Pawsitive Shelter Photography, join Central Florida auto titan Don Mealey and Hill's Science Diet as sponsors of the event, which Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said aims to “keep pet owners and their pets together” amid the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wean and Reines in 2011 founded Pawsitive Shelter Photography as a volunteer organization that aspired to help animal shelters get pets adopted through better marketing.

Wean said the pandemic “essentially shut down” their organization. He said he and his wife had always wondered what they’d do with the donations they kept in a trust account. They contemplated pet initiatives.

“And when this food drive came along, we recognized that we could use it for this, because not only does it keep the pets with their owners, which is one of our important things — to keep pets from being homeless — but also, it deals with the issue of income inequality.”

Orange County Animal Services says it will distribute adult cat food, kitten food, adult dog food, small bites dog food, and cases of wet dog food.

Orange County residents can select, while supplies last, up to two items on a first-come, first-served basis. To minimize contact, officials ask pet owners to stay in their cars and allow workers to put the pet food in their trunks.

Orange County Animal Services gave away several hundred bags of pet food during a similar event in June, Demings said.

“Events such as these are all part of a concerted effort by Orange County to assist residents” affected by the pandemic, he said.