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Perfectly Good Pet Food is Better in Bellies than in Landfills

duct-tapeIn honor of Earth Day 2015… Here’s one of the beautiful side effects of the pet food bank, and this is why we spend so much time at the warehouse after every large donation.

We use a lot of duct tape at the Colorado Pet Pantry. It’s a small price to pay for the tens of thousands of pounds of pet food we’re able to salvage.

Almost all of the pet food bags that are donated from pet food suppliers or stores are damaged in some way. Accidents happen. Bags fall off store shelves and split open. Forklifts miss their mark. Glues don’t always hold. Zippers get caught.

We duct tape the heck out of things. Sometimes it’s not pretty. But it’s secure.

Then, separate from physical damage, there are pet food bags that are instantly ruined by an expiration date… When’s the last time you went through your pantry and chucked everything that was a few months past its “Best By” date?

In all of these cases, pet food companies and stores can’t sell it.

But nonprofits like us can absolutely use it.

And the landfills are grateful for the reprieve.

Happy Earth Day, and thanks for helping us to recycle!


Database Vs. Endless Paperwork | Wish List

The work behind the scenes of a pet food bank is immense. I was describing the work that we do to a volunteer today and my words were, “It’s pretty simple. The client needs pet food. We have pet food.” But it’s so much more than that. We need to find the pet food, store it, keep a decent inventory, transport it to pet food bank locations, find volunteers to distribute, keep track of how much food we give out, take the remaining food back to the warehouse and fundraise for all the above.

I always wish there was more time in the day. One thing we really need, and it would save hours upon hours every week, would be a database. Three to four more hours a week for myself and volunteers would mean more time for all of the other things on the list that need to be tackled.

Because in the end, if it was as easy as “they need pet food, we have pet food” we could help so many more pets and families. And that’s good for everyone.

I would be very happy to explain in-depth what we need in a database to any developer who would be willing to listen and potentially work on this project with us. The gist is we track and report on how much pet food we distribute at each pet food bank and how much each client receives (for as long as they come to the pet food bank).

It started out as a nice little Excel spreadsheet.

Now, for our largest pet food bank (which is just one out of five locations) we have 481 clients, which when printed so that we can check people into the pet food bank, is 24 pages.

Our ideal scenario (at least the way I am imagining this) would be to scrap the paper and use electronic tablets to record this information and input it directly into a database. We would need to be able to enter new clients, and then to be able to search and add to current clients each time they visit the pet food bank. And we’d need to be able to report totals on the various fields.

If you have ideas, please contact us. We would be grateful for any help or advice.

Thanks!

Eileen, Colorado Pet Pantry Executive Director


Happy National Volunteer Week!

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”  ~Elizabeth Andrew

Every month, volunteers run the Colorado Pet Pantry pet food banks, pick up pet food at our collection partners, staff tables at events, and type up endless paperwork. We love doing it because we know our clients and their pets are so relieved to have access to food.

It’s truly amazing. In 2014, our volunteers gave 1,100+ hours to distribute 30,553 pounds of pet food, helping 1,500 families in the Denver/Boulder-metro area to feed 3,296 pets.

Here are snaps of just a few volunteers. There are so many more who have dedicated so much time to making sure the dogs and cats on the front range are well fed, healthy, happy, and able to stay with the families that love them.

Thank you to all of our volunteers and happy National Volunteer Week! You’re truly the best.

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Volunteer for an upcoming food bank!


Partnership to Reduce Shelter Overpopulation

Our mission is to help families feed their pets, keeping dogs and cats out of shelters and with the people who love them. Our focus is primarily the multi-species family. But helping to reduce over-population within animal shelters is a bonus of the work that we do.

Now, there’s an enormous cherry on top. Starting a few months ago, Dumb Friends League (DFL) staff from the mobile spay and neuter clinics began attending many of our pet food banks to share information about donor-subsidized services and vaccinations with our clients.

What a hit! The DFL team is compassionately speaking to our clients about their needs, and after each pet food bank, they have scheduled several clients to spay and neuter their pets. (Plus they always bring an armful of toys and treats for our clients’ pets!) This partnership has led the Colorado Pet Pantry to begin inquiring with each pet owner about their spay and neuter history, and start a discussion that can exponentially affect pet over-population in the Denver-metro area.

Thank you Dumb Friends League for your amazing work and for helping Colorado Pet Pantry clients take an important step in responsible pet ownership.

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The Dumb Friends League donated some new toys to our clients. Happy dogs!

 


Saving Food for the Humans

Here’s a note straight from one of our wonderful clients. She ran out of pet food yesterday and has been using her family’s small supply of ground beef to feed her dogs. We told her about our new pet food bank near downtown Denver at DICP that begins tomorrow, so she’ll be able to get what she needs sooner than later. “I love my dogs with my life. I want them to be healthy. Thank you for being so concerned with the health of my pets.”


We’re Adding a Fifth Monthly Pet Food Bank!

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PET-pupStarting next week, the Colorado Pet Pantry will begin holding its fifth monthly pet food bank at Denver Inner City Parish (DICP). The human food bank partner opened its food bank at this location in late 2014. The pet food bank will be held at DICP on the second Wednesday of the month. Clients of DICP are invited to visit the pet food bank on April 8 to get supplemental pet food for their dogs or cats. Pet owners who need assistance but are not a member of the partner human food bank are asked to call 720.441.3111 or contact us to make prior arrangements.

Check out our calendar of upcoming pet food banks.