ENCINITAS, Calif. – United States Marines on Saturday helped to distribute more than two dozen pallets of pet food to animals in need in San Diego County, authorities said.

The Marines, who are stationed at Camp Pendleton, helped to load the cat and dog food outside of the Rancho Coastal Humane Society, with the pallets going to animals at non-profit rescue centers.

RCHS President Judi Sanzo said before the event, “This donation includes mostly dry dog food with some cat food and cat litter. It will be distributed at no cost to 501 (c) (3) non-profit pet rescue groups. With the help of these Marines, it will all be gone in an hour.”

According to John D. Van Zante with the Rancho Coastal Humane Society, the Marines come from all over the U.S., including Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas.

“All you have to do is tell us you have pets and we can hold them. We’ll be there,” one of the Marines told Van Zante.

The importance of the giveaways is not understated, officials said.

“The rescues use the money they save with the free food to pay for medical care and take in more pets. Each giveaway saves lives,” said Sanzo.

To learn more about the Rancho Coastal Humane Society, click HERE.