MOUNT AIRY, Md.—A new type of food bank is open in Maryland — one that focuses on four-legged needs.
The Maryland Hay Bank in Mount Airy began offering emergency feed for horses about two months ago, coordinator Jenny Kurtz said. She said its goal is to provide a helping hand to horse owners who have fallen on tough times.
Those seeking help need to fill out an application, Kurtz said. She said hay grants go to private horse owners who also provide information on how they plan to take care of their horse or horses beyond a one-month supply of hay.
About 400 bales of hay have been granted so far, with Kurtz expecting the highest demand during the winter months. Besides providing hay, Kurtz said, the hay bank encourages owners to focus on what's best for the animal.
"That's one of the hardest things we're having to deal with." Kurtz said. "People are considering the horse like a member of the family, but you have to be able to feed it. Horses are very, very expensive to keep."
For those considering a horse as a family Christmas gift, Kurtz suggests doing some research on feed, vet and hoof-care costs. She said feeding a horse for a month costs about the same as feeding a dog for a year.
The hay bank accepts cash donations and purchases all of its hay locally.
For more information, go to gentlegiantsdrafthorserescue.com.