MERRIAM, Kan. -- A metro organization called the HERO Team (Humane Research Education Outreach) through Great Plains SPCA provides help and support to people who can no longer afford to care for the four-legged members of their families.
The program works every day to provide what animal owners need to care for their pets.
“Your heart gets broken two or three times, but you really know you're making a difference,” said Jacob Meyer, the videographer for the HERO Team.
FOX 4's Melissa Stern rode along with the HERO Team on Tuesday to check in on the pets suffering throughout the community.
“They help me out when I need it,” said Delieca Beacham, a regular HERO Team client.
Beacham said the HERO Team has come by her KCK home with dog and cat food regularly over the last year.
“That helps people that don't have it,” Beacham said.
She said she's trying to catch up on bills, and has a soft spot for stray animals.
“They're abandoned in a house and I try to help take care of them, and find homes for them,” Beacham explained. So she depends on the HERO Team.
“We find for the most part people do truly care about their pets and simply lack the resources and knowledge to properly care for them,” said Lauren Hacker, the program director.
Hacker drives around the metro almost every day with a truck full of supplies.
“We're in areas where... there aren't even places to purchase pet food if they could purchase it,” Hacker said.
Each morning they load up the van with supplies they need, meet with regulars and new clients, and get stray animals spayed and neutered.
Jacob Meyer, the videographer for the program, goes along to show the community what's really going on.
“People don't realize that all this suffering, neglect, and abuse that's happening to these animals is just blocks away from where they might live,” says Meyer.
The HERO Team said there is a huge problem with pet overpopulation in the community.
“There are just too many pets that deserve good homes, and not enough homes that deserve to have pets,” Meyer said.
They said often times people can't fathom they would drive around and try to help them and their pets without a motive.
“A lot of people are a little hesitant to trust us, or they can't believe in what we're doing. It takes a little bit to gain trust and build a relationship, because people just can't believe that something like this exists, that we are even out here sounds too good to be true,” said Hacker.
But they said people are generally appreciative when they realize they're simply there to help.
“Our true goal is to keep pets with their owners, and to help them the best we can where they're at,” Hacker adds.
All the food given out in the community is from donations, and the HERO Team is always looking for volunteers.