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Sarah Michelle Gellar Teams Up with Freshpet to Reward Animal Shelters

The program is open to the public through a submission process beginning today and running for two weeks.




(PRESS RELEASE) SECAUCUS, NJ — Freshpet (FRPT) is partnering with actress and animal rescue advocate Sarah Michelle Gellar to celebrate its fifth annual Fresh Start initiative. The program, which celebrates and rewards no-kill animal shelters, is open to the public through a submission process beginning today and running for two weeks. The Fresh Start program has distributed more than $400k to no-kill shelters across the country since it began in 2018.

Gellar, whose family has one rescue and two other dogs, will serve as a judge, helping select 16 shelters from across the country to receive funding, including one overall winner receiving $25,000, and five grand prize regional winners who will each receive $15,000. Other grants will be awarded, including 10 runners-up, two in each region, receiving $5,000 each. Submissions are open to the public Sept. 12-25 via Following the submission period, winners will be announced the week of Oct. 17.

“We treat our pets like they’re our kids; they’re such a big part of our family,” said Gellar. “We’ve always been big supporters of animal adoption, because there are so many deserving animals that need good homes. And right now, the need is stronger than ever, with many shelters overcrowded and in need of support,” she added. “There are so many rescues doing incredible work across the country, so partnering with Freshpet to recognize and reward them is something I couldn’t pass up.”

According to Best Friends Animal Society1, of the approximately 4,000 animal shelters in the U.S., only 52% are no-kill shelters, many of which operate with volunteer staff and via donations. Dollars donated through Fresh Start assist shelters with a variety of needs, from healthcare for animals and adoption support to operating cost and equipment. All funding awarded from Freshpet can be utilized at the shelters’ discretion.

“Fresh Start allows us to continue to unleash the power of giving to pets and people working to make their lives better,” said Steve Elwell, director of digital at Freshpet. “There’s an amazing network of animal shelters and organizations throughout the country that are championing the wellbeing of companion pets that can use our help, whether through volunteering or donations, and we’re happy that we can extend the Fresh Start initiative to help reward them for their work.”

Joining Gellar to judge this year’s program are pet influencer Tatum Talks (, Freshpet’s expert veterinarian Dr. Aziza Glass, as well as shelter partners, St. Hubert’s and Pennsylvania SPCA. Freshpet has helped more than 160 animal shelters throughout the country as part of its work with no-kill shelters and anti-cruelty programs. Its advocacy efforts also include donations of more than 14 million meals.


For more information about Freshpet and the Fresh Start program, visit, and connect with Freshpet on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Freshpet

Freshpet’s mission is to improve the lives of dogs and cats through the power of fresh, real food. Freshpet recipes are blends of fresh meats, vegetables and fruits made sustainably at their Kitchens in Bethlehem, PA. Thoughtfully prepared, all food is made using natural ingredients, cooking in small batches at lower temperatures to preserve the natural goodness of the ingredients. Freshpet foods and treats are kept refrigerated from the moment they are made until they arrive at Freshpet fridges in your local market.

Freshpet is available in select mass, grocery (including online), natural food, club, and pet specialty retailers across the United States, Canada and Europe. From the care taken to source ingredients and make each recipe, to the moment it reaches your home, Freshpet’s integrity, transparency and social responsibility are the way they like to run their business.



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