Colorado Expression Magazine Writes about the Colorado Pet Pantry

By award-winning writer, and President of the Dog Writers Association of America, Jen Reeder, published in Colorado Expression Magazine!

A FEW YEARS AGO, Anthony Valle’s career was booming. With a doctorate in business administration and years of experience as a successful senior project manager for numerous Fortune 500 companies, his skills were in demand. So when he was offered a lucrative contract to work in Denver, he drove from New York with his wife, young daughters and their beloved dogs to the Centennial State.

But fortune can be fickle. A week after arriving, Valle found himself unemployed due to legal wrangling between his employer and another company. Suddenly job offers dried up; aside from managing one major fiber-optic project, he hasn’t found work in his field for two years. Instead, he maintains a low-income job to help keep his family afloat until something more promising pans out. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Valle said. “We went from having a beautiful home to living in a hotel. It’s been a really hard road.”

The Valles have stayed close throughout their hardships—both with one another and with their dog, Cleo. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a registered emotional support dog who loves to snuggle, take walks and sleep in bed with Valle’s daughters every night. But due to allergies, Cleo needs special dog food, which became increasingly challenging to provide. “It would have been extremely devastating to every one of us if we would have had to give up Cleo because we couldn’t afford to take care of her,” Valle said.

Fortunately, the Colorado Pet Pantry stepped in. The nonprofit, founded in 2013, helps keeps pets in the families that love them by providing dog and cat food to people in need. The pet food bank “brought us peace of mind,” Valle said. “We’re sure that Cleo’s going to be healthy and taken care of.”

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Spotlight on Pet Pantry Supporter: Dog-topia

By Amy Hempe

Entering Dog-topia one encounters loud, persistent barking punctuated by the occasional silence. The silence does not last for long as there is often something happening at this busy doggy daycare and boarding facility located in Denver on Lincoln and Alameda. Owner Erin Loughrey wouldn’t have it any other way.

Loughrey began her business back in 2002 on Fifteenth and Platt and moved the current location on Lincoln in 2010. People looking to work there have to possess a necessary blend of good customer skills first followed by dog skills, and it is shows as both customers and dogs are always greeted with big smiles.

Opening at the crack of dawn, or even before, at six-thirty in the morning, and closing at seven at night, dogs can spend their day socializing with up to one hundred other dogs, although the average day sees about seventy.

“Even though they have good bonds with the people who work here, the dogs usually just want dog time,” Loughrey explained in her typically cheerful manner. “Generally they don’t even want to hang out with humans.” They are closely supervised though. Rather than being separated by size, the staff puts them into groups based on the dogs’ temperaments so that calmer dogs can have a relaxing day while the more playful pooches can spend their day chasing one another. The dogs have roughly ten thousand square feet to play, and during the summer, swim in wading pools that the staff sets up outside.

About 1 p.m to 3 p.m. seems to be a down time for many of the dogs as they have burned off a lot of their earlier energy. Then they get revved up again for the late afternoon pick ups. Owners are happy to have a tired dog at the end of the day although Loughrey laughs and is quick to point out that dogs are “completely different here than they are at home.” Considering most of us do not have seventy dogs to hang out with at home, this is completely believable.

And while most of the dogs belong to Denver residents, a few of the pups who hang out at Dog-topia have been rescued by the Aurora-based dog rescue organization DMK Rehoming and are looking for forever homes.

Dog-topia is one of many businesses that accepts pet food donations on our behalf–see the full list of partners here. We then distribute the pet food at pet food banks. Learn more about this important Colorado Pet Pantry supporter Dog-topia or visit their FaceBook page.


Opening our 6th Pet Food Bank Location – Boulder 


On Dec 13, 2016 we opened our sixth month “open to the public” pet food bank location in Boulder  with our partner Harvest of Hope food bank. We also have 10 mini pet food banks where we help a target population such as the residents of low-income facilities for people with disabilities or the elderly, and organizations whose mission is to reduce the number of homeless pets. See our partner list. 



A Client’s Story


“We live month-to-month but normally everything works out somehow. This month there was just no way for us to make rent and buy dog food (which has to be one of the worst feelings in the world)! They are our family and we love them like family. I just don’t even know what we would have done without you guys and can’t thank you enough! I hope you know how important the work you do is!”


Your Furnace Tune-up Helps Feed 25 Pets for a Month!

FurFur_2 charities_2016-thumbnailApplewood Plumbing Heating & Electric is again partnering with Colorado Pet Pantry for their “Furnace Checks for Charity” program. The program was a big success last year (feeding more than 250 pets for a month!), so we hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity and support Colorado Pet Pantry in 2016.

In preparation for the chilly winter months, Applewood is offering a 14-point furnace tune-up at a special rate of $99, a service valued at $181.67. Instead of writing a check to Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric, however, 100% of your furnace check fee will be made directly to Colorado Pet Pantry.

This donation is tax deductible and the perfect way to support our efforts. Colorado Pet Pantry provides pet food to families to ensure pets are well taken care of and remain in a loving home. More than 5,700 pets were helped last year.

Book your furnace check with Applewood between September 1-30 to help support Colorado Pet Pantry! Call 303-232-6611.

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Our Holiday Wish List

There are so many ways that you can help the Colorado Pet Pantry, from volunteering to donating. If you’re looking for ways to make a huge difference to specific areas of the pet food bank, here’s what we need:

Help Us to Buy a Van

We’ve rented and borrowed our share of vans, large trucks, and magic carpets to move more than 50,000 lbs of pet food this year. With five monthly pet food banks on the calendar, and more coming, we need to invest in a reliable van to help transport the growing amount of pet food we distribute each year. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to buy and maintain the van. This crowdfunding page is part of the LoveAnimals and Animal Assistance Foundation #ColoradoLovesPets Holiday Giving Challenge and every donation helps us to win up to $20,000 in prizes. Donate to this special fund. (Want to donate a van? Email us!)

Help Us Keep Our Warehouse

We share our amazing warehouse with 10 human food banks. Together we are the Food Exchange Resource Network (FERN) and we’ve helped more than 50,000 people (and their pets) in seven counties. Staying together affords us tremendous cost-savings especially in this very expensive time for warehouse real estate. But the warehouse needs work and we need to raise $35,000 to get this done. An investment in this fund will allow all of the food banks, including the pet pantry, to stay in this warehouse space at about 1/15th (!) of the market rate. Donate to this special fund.

Fund a New Pet Food Bank

It costs about $3840 to fund a new pet food bank location for a year which will serve about 960 pets! This special fund will be used specifically to open a new location as soon as possible. This crowdfunding page is part of the LoveAnimals and Animal Assistance Foundation #ColoradoLovesPets Holiday Giving Challenge and every donation helps us to win up to $20,000 in prizes. Donate to this special fund.


Kick Start your Colorado Gives Day Donations on #GivingTuesday

It’s #GivingTuesday, the post-Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday day devoted to investing in nonprofits that are improving our world. 

Please consider the Colorado Pet Pantry as you’re making your #GivingTuesday donations. Currently we are holding five pet food banks each month in the Denver/Boulder-metro area and will soon be adding more as donations, volunteers, and pet food resources allow.

Every dollar donated is worth $5 in pet food.

To support the pet food bank, please “Schedule” a donation for Colorado Gives Day, which will officially be held on December 8. But there’s no need to wait! Simply select “CO GIVES DAY” under Donation Type when making your donation.

Colorado Gives Day

WHY SCHEDULE YOUR DONATION?

Because all donations that are scheduled for or made on December 8 will be partially matched. (And because you’re thinking about it now!)

HELP US SPREAD THE WORD

RSVP for or Share the “Colorado Gives Day” Event on Facebook. This will GREATLY help us to reach more people. 


Get your Furnace Inspected for Winter and Support Colorado Pet Pantry

Applewood Plumbing, Heating and Electric is offering all of our supporters (and anyone you forward this email to) an opportunity to donate $99 to the Colorado Pet Pantry and you’ll get a free furnace inspection just in time for winter to start shaking off the cobwebs. If you call Applewood at 303.232.6611 before Sept. 30 and schedule an appointment in the next few weeks, your donation will help 25 pets have food for a month! Below is the information. Thanks so much for your ongoing support.

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Gabriel’s Story

By Nathaniel

A lot has changed since Gabriel came into my life. “Gabe” was born April 8, 2008 at 4 lbs., and I was 500 lbs+. I was working in sales for a tech start up and in social work as a crisis counselor. We trained, hiked and went to the dog park multiple times a day. Gabe became an incredibly well-socialized 200-pound lovable giant and I lost 200 lbs.! Talk about the health benefits of owning a pet.

Recently, after caring for my dad who has now passed away, working two jobs, and undergoing surgery to truly get my weight in check, I found myself physically burned out. Drastic measures were necessary to heal. This meant leaving both social work and sales; high-stress, demanding careers I’d been in for 20 years. Although I was 40, all of the starting over had me feeling closer to 4.

Learning to live a very different life — without my dad, nearly 400 lbs. lighter, and in deep need of new career skills knocked me on my butt! Thankfully, in the past year, the Colorado Pet Pantry provided quality kibble for Gabe when my income didn’t allow me to buy it.

Gabe IS the family I have here in Colorado. He’s my bright spot. From weight loss to stress reduction, he has literally saved my life time and again. All that I’ve faced has been tough, but the Colorado Pet Pantry has eased my load as I get back on track. To think of how the Colorado Pet Pantry is assisting others through the difficult parts of their own journeys encourages me. It’s crazy how hope can be found in a bag of dog food! During this time of bright lights and offering hope, may we all receive a joy as rich as what I receive from Gabe. And, in turn, may we all have the fortune of spreading such joy.

Nathaniel


Colorado Pet Food Bank Re-Distributes Pet Food Donation Worth $130,000

20 Rescue and Pet Food Bank Organizations are Receiving Pallets of Pet Food Valued at $5,280 each

Redbarn Pet Products, a manufacturer of premium food, treats and chews for dogs and cats, has arranged for a donation of 33,792 cans of dog food and 38,808 cans of cat food to be donated to nonprofit animal organizations across Colorado. Denver/Boulder pet food bank, Colorado Pet Pantry, spearheaded the logistical coordination and outreach for the rescue groups that span from Crawford, Evergreen, Monument, Alamosa, Ft. Collins, and all over Denver/Boulder. Sharing the donation among the different rescues and pet food banks was a necessity as Colorado Pet Pantry Executive Director Eileen Lambert explained, “We simply don’t have the warehouse space for 22 pallets of pet food and this food can be put to immediate use through the many wonderful animal rescues and pet food banks located throughout the state.” The cans of food, normally retailing for over $130,000, are being delivered to the mile-high city on Friday, July 10th. The food will then be allocated to the 22 partner organizations located across the state.

According to Colorado Pet Pantry’s calculations, this food could feed 563 dogs and 826 cats twice a day for a month. Redbarn co-owner Jeff Baikie remarked, “Redbarn was founded on the principle of creating better, more nutritious food for every dog. We understand when times are tough, it can be very difficult on a family with pets and for that reason we are honored to support Colorado Pet Pantry food bank, their rescue partners and their common goal of ensuring all families in a neighborhood have the resources to consistently feed their pets, keeping them out of shelters. It’s our hope that with a donation of this size, we will enable these rescues to help save more animals.” According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats enter animal shelters every year.

See photos from the donation event generously donated by DelaFoto.

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About Redbarn Pet Products, LLC
In 1996, CEO’s (and lifelong friends) Jeff Baikie and Howard Bloxam recognized the need for a wholesome dog food that was developed, produced and sold with integrity, honesty and only top quality ingredients. They developed the signature Redbarn Rolled Food, an enhanced food with over 93% digestibility. Soon, they began manufacturing premium, grass-fed bully sticks and other natural chews. In 2013, responding to customer’s demands, Jeff and Howard created the grain-free Redbarn for Cats line. Redbarn strives to provide products and information to help our customers in making educated, nutritious decisions for their pets.

About Colorado Pet Pantry
The Colorado Pet Pantry pet food bank operates as a mobile pet food bank at “human” food bank partners. During 2015, the pet food bank plans to grow to six monthly pet food banks in the Denver/Boulder-metro areas. In 2014, their 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.


Applewood Awards Giveaway to Colorado Pet Pantry

Colorado Pet Pantry_webThe Colorado Pet Pantry is a food bank for family pets. They temporarily feed Colorado pets, allowing families to increase their ability to care for pets with the goal of keeping them out of shelters and with their families. The organization began in 2013 with a pet food bank at one “human” food bank partner. In 2015, they have already grown to five monthly food bank partners.

“Applewood is proud to partner with this organization,” said John Ward, Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric president. “Their work is admirable and we are excited to be able to help them expand their efforts to help more pets and families in need.”

The Colorado Pet Pantry partners with and distributes directly out of “human” food banks because they have an established relationship with the neighborhoods, and they can leverage their administrative processes and their buildings. Additionally, the availability of pet food helps to ensure that the already limited “human” food is reserved for the humans and pets receive balanced meals.

“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,” said Eileen Lambert, founder of Colorado Pet Pantry.

The $1,000 will allow the organization to expand its services and will help feed 250 additional pets. “Every dollar donated to the Colorado Pet Pantry is worth $5 in pet food. Combine that with the fact that your donation helps a pet stay with its family – keeping the dog or cat out of the shelter where it would need to be housed, fed, walked, cared for, and rehomed,” said Eileen.  

Over the past nine years, Applewood has given more than $95,000 in giveaways to charities and nonprofits in the Denver area.

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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