Helping to Feed Pets in Need


Have you ever ever opened a brand new bag of pet food, and your pup turns up her nostril? It’s occurred many occasions at my home — actually, I’m satisfied that my Chiweenie is the pickiest eater on the planet.

If she solely knew how fortunate she is. After talking to Eileen Lambert, government director of Colorado Pet Pantry, a meals financial institution for animals, I realized that many canine don’t get the posh of being choosy eaters. They’re fortunate in the event that they get a meal in any respect.

“I’ve shoppers inform me they’ve to choose between paying lease and their utilities and shopping for pet meals,” says Eileen, who began the Denver-based nonprofit in 2013 when, as a shelter volunteer, she observed canine had been persistently given up as a result of their house owners couldn’t afford to care for them.

Now, Eileen and her group have grown Colorado Pet Pantry into the biggest pet meals financial institution within the nation, she says, with 45 places all through Colorado, plus 90 donation bins at native companies. By amassing donations, equivalent to that opened bag of pet food that your canine refuses to eat, in 2019, the group fed 3.7 million meals to pets.

how to help dogs in need

Colorado Pet Pantry is the biggest pet meals financial institution within the nation and fed 3.7 million meals to pets in 2019. Photograph: Steve Hostetler/Colorado Pet Pantry

Benefiting pets, house owners and shelters

Pet meals isn’t coated beneath meals stamps or different backed packages, but it’s continuously requested at meals banks for folks. Pet house owners find yourself utilizing meals allotted for themselves to feed their animals, says Eileen, who discovered that by giving out pet meals, it frees up cash for different pet prices like housing and vet bills.

This, in flip, retains these pets — generally a homeless particular person’s sole companion — out of the shelters.

“If we will preserve an animal in its loving residence, that’s actually the most effective scenario for everybody,” she says, including that it prices shelters about $500 — between consumption, meals, boarding, coaching and vet care — to rehome an animal.

Getting meals to the pups who want it

The pet meals banks are arrange equally to human meals banks with the purpose of protecting 50 p.c of individuals’s pet meals prices, Eileen says of this conventional charity mannequin that encourages folks to work out their very own bills for half the yr and get again on their ft.

A number of the pet pantry’s bigger places, located close to human meals banks, can maintain sufficient meals to feed 100 to 200 animals per thirty days.

The group additionally companions with housing complexes, shelters, universities, senior facilities and different nonprofits to distribute meals, sometimes by way of a volunteer level particular person, to have it obtainable for people who frequent these places.

“It’s extraordinarily environment friendly,” Eileen says.

For extra data on the Colorado Pet Meals Pantry, see Photograph: Steve Hostetler/Colorado Pet Pantry


A lot of the meals that the pet pantry distributes was on its option to the landfill, discarded by house owners of choosy pets or firms that modified their packaging label or have broken items, for instance, if the packaging obtained moist on a supply truck whereas it was raining. Eileen companions with these firms and native pet shops that donate their kibble that’s about to run out and may’t be bought on the cabinets.

She additionally collects different canine provides, equivalent to collars, leashes and toys.

The animal welfare share program

The provides are stored in a warehouse, and in 2017 Eileen had the concept of sharing them with native animal welfare organizations, which, finally, are all working towards the identical trigger.

“The animal rescues don’t must spend hard-owned donations on pet food,” she says, including that it’s additionally a spot the place these organizations can retailer provides like crates for transports that they may want sometimes.

“It’s develop into a library,” she says of the 87 organizations that take part.

This system continues to be rising as Eileen expands outreach and opens extra meals banks throughout the state.

“It offers everybody a option to work collectively,” she says. “Let’s do that for the animals.”

  • Verify for a pet pantry in your space. Most cities have one. If not, ask your native shelter if it has a pet-food donation program.
  • Contemplate your native human meals financial institution. “Most human meals banks are very grateful if you happen to carry pet meals in,” Eileen says.
  • Essentially the most-needed merchandise is kibble as a result of it’s simple to move and has a protracted shelf life.
  • Arrange a pet meals drive. Increase consciousness in your group by asking family and friends to donate their expired or discarded pet meals, treats and outdated provides.
  • All the time examine together with your native shelter earlier than dropping off meals. Not all shelters are capable of gather pet food, and it oftentimes turns into a trouble for them to move it elsewhere.

High {photograph}: Steve Hostetler/Colorado Pet Pantry

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