To help bring a Merry Christmas to pets, Pet Valu Transcona is partnering with Winnipeg Animal Food Bank for its second year to bring necessities to struggling pet owners.

On November 18, Pet Valu on Plessis Road announced the start of its "Lend a paw, help a pet" initiative. It is where they set up a Christmas tree in the store that is decorated with ornaments that has information about animals in need and what they wished for.

"So far it hasn’t been a ton of things happening, because Christmas is just getting started, but we're hoping in December it really picks up," says Kim Kurylo, a volunteer driver with the Winnipeg Animal Food Bank to CTV Winnipeg.

The gifts are given to most cats and dogs, but apparently, a hamster can be found on the tree as well. Gifts include food for the pet, toys and treats.

Aside from hoping to surprise pets and their owners with toys, food and treats, the Animal Food Bank (AFB) is in desperate need of drivers to deliver food to pet owners in need.

"Right now we have 80 orders sitting there, waiting to be delivered."

Kurylo says that they receive between 150-200 requests for pet food every month, and it only increases during the holidays. In 2021, AFB made over 3000 deliveries.

"About 56 per cent of people replied that they would have had to surrender their pet if it wasn’t for the Winnipeg Animal Food Bank, so it really does make a difference," says Kurylo about a recent poll the organization conducted.

Those wishing to participate in the tree tag gift event can visit Pet Valu, 1750 Plessis Road and pick an ornament, and for convenience, people can also call the store at 204-777-PETS(7387) to help pets in need as well.

Visit the Pel Valu Transcona Facebook page for more information.