Yvonne Hong - Westfield Local Heroes 2020
Force for good
Pets Of The Homeless Australia
Passionate. Optimistic. Changemaker.
Yvonne Hong started Pets of the Homeless (POTH) as a self-funded passion project in 2015 to look after the much-loved pets of people facing homelessness.
She started out packaging pet food at her kitchen table. But despite having no experience of running a charity, she has grown POTH into a formidable operation.
It has dedicated volunteers, 25,000 supporters on social media and has opened Victoria's first pet food bank.
Each month, POTH helps more than 1000 people care for their beloved pets.
This year, Pro Bono Australia's Impact 25 awards named Yvonne one of the most influential people in the social sector.
Yvonne believes everyone is capable of making a difference and lives by her motto: "If not me, then who?"
She grew up in a small apartment in Malaysia and was moved by the stray dogs she saw living on the streets. In Australia, she shares her home with several rescue animals and has fostered more than 40 animals in need.
"I believe every human being deserves to experience the unconditional love of a pet, regardless of circumstances," Yvonne says. "For many people at risk of or experiencing homelessness, their pet is truly their only friend."
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Pets of The Homeless Australia will use its grant to fund starter packs of food and supplies and an essential healthcare check for 20 pets.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here