Have you ever thought about what you would do if you couldn't afford to buy food for your fur baby? It's a heartbreaking thought! But for many people, this is a reality they have to face. Thankfully, pet pantries are working to keep (furry) families together.
Many beloved pets are being surrendered to animal shelters because their families can no longer afford to care for them properly. Pet food is a major cost for many pet owners, and it's one that adds up fast.
While low-cost food is sometimes available, it isn't always enough to help those who are struggling financially to make ends meet.
Thankfully, pet pantries are giving pet owners an alternative to separating from their four-legged family members. In fact, there are new pet pantries cropping up all over the country.
For those who are in desperate need, these pantries can keep fur babies and their families together.
What Are Pet Pantries
Pet food pantries are places to find free food for your fur babies if you're not able to afford the food on your own. These pantries typically get their food from donations from caring pet parents who want to help out, food drives in the community, or and pet store donations.
Big box stores sometimes give away their food when they've discontinued a certain brand or when they have too many bags of food that will expire soon. Rather than let the food go to waste, pet stores, pet parents, and community organizations are banding together to help pet parents who need an assist.
Who Pet Pantries Help
Sadly, more than 1 million people have to give up their doggos and kitties each year to shelters. It's not because they don't want them anymore, though. It's mostly due to being unable to afford the care of their furry friends.
This is a heart-wrenching statistic, but luckily pet pantries are there to help those who can't afford food for their four-legged family members.
This includes people who have recently lost their jobs, the elderly, people with high medical bills, the homeless, and any situation where someone is struggling financially and can't afford food for their pets.
In addition to providing free food, the greatest gift these pet pantries offer is helping prevent desperate pet parents from having to surrender their sweet babies to overcrowded shelters.
Finding a Pet Pantry Near You
Pet pantries are available in nearly every community and they're pretty easy to find if you know where to look.
For instance, you can call or visit your local animal shelter for information on local pet pantries. Animals shelters are happy to connect people with pet pantries because it may mean the difference in a family having to give up their beloved fur baby and it keeps shelter numbers and costs lower.
You can also call or visit your local humane society. Humane societies are motivated to have a pet pantry because they know pets are much more likely to live long, happy lives with their owners rather than in shelters.
Charitable organizations like Meals on Wheels are here to help, too. Meals on Wheels has an entire program dedicated to keeping senior citizens and their pets together by delivering bags of food for kitties and doggies with the meals. Not every Meals on Wheels program participates, so call and check your local group for details.
Lastly, you can always do an online search. Many sites – like The Humane Society website – offer a list of places you can find free pet food in each state.
Even if you've never needed a pet pantry, you may feel called to help other pet parents in need. Here's how you can give back:
- Run a pet food drive in your community. There are many online resources to help you set up your own pet food drive virtually or in person.
- Donate unused, safe food. You can donate food to your local animal shelters or humane society. Just be sure to tell them it's for their pet pantry.
- Donate money to shelters or humane societies. Places that help care for animals always need help with costs. If you want your money to be used for the pet food pantry, let them know or write it on your check.
- Volunteer at your local shelter or humane society. Rather than giving money, you can donate your time by working in the food pantry or helping out with all those sweet felines and canines!
Giving back and spreading the word about local pet pantries is a great way to be sure pet parents in need know there's help out there. Our hope is that no one will ever have to find themselves in the desperate position of breaking up their families.
If you know of a great pet food pantry doing good in your community, give them a shout-out in the comments below!