This Dogster article is so kind, educational and thorough – YOU should read it. Photography by Steve Hostetler Photography.
“I have clients tell me they have to make a choice between paying rent and their utilities and buying pet food,” says Eileen, who started the Denver-based nonprofit in 2013 when, as a shelter volunteer, she noticed dogs were consistently given up because their owners couldn’t afford to take care of them.
Now, Eileen and her team have grown Colorado Pet Pantry into the largest pet food bank in the country, she says, with 45 locations throughout Colorado, plus 90 donation bins at local businesses. By collecting donations, such as that opened bag of dog food that your dog refuses to eat, in 2019, the organization fed 3.7 million meals to pets.
“We take misfit dogs..” says Mitzi, owner and guardian of Lady Mae the German Shepherd. Lady has a unique set of thumbs on both her front and hind legs. Due to this deformity, if you can even call it that, her previous owner cast her as useless to him and her guardian angels (his neighbors), swooped in to her rescue.
“When we got her she was just bones, skinny. You could see her hip bones, her ribs, and she had a big arch in her back because of the small kennel she had stayed in.” Her previous owner’s brother managed to get Lady to safety in the hands of Jefferson, Mitzi and McKayla. After less than a year in their care, and with the help of Colorado Pet Pantry, Lady showed incredible signs of love, care, and thank goodness – some weight.
Mitzi has been coming to Colorado Pet Pantry’s Jewish Family Service food bank and says, “having the food is a tremendous help.”
Thanks to the love and support of our Colorado community, we are able to continue to help so many dogs like Lady stay in homes they deserve and with people who care, love, and are able to feed them all the food they need to thrive.
As Christy waits in line at our Community Ministry Pet Food Bank with her best friend Paco, it’s clear these two are meant for each other. As she describes how Paco’s soothing energy saved her husband, while lying with him in the hospital bed, their true friendship and bond shows through. There is a calm and quiet understanding between these two as they wait among several excited and barking dogs.
Christy has been coming to our pet food banks for three years now. “I have to take care of him. Vet payments and food costs are money that I don’t have. With Colorado Pet Pantry, there is a resource for someone like me to take good care of my dog,” Christy shares.
It’s stories like these we hear time and time again at our pet food banks. These stories continue to encourage us to push further, expand our reach, and continue to be a resource for those who love their pets, and despite financial hardships, strive to do the best for them.
BY SHELLEY W IDHALM FOR THE REPORTER-HERALD
Thank you to Shelley Idhalm for this great article covering our pet food bank in Loveland. Link to full article at the end of the post.
The fourth Saturday of the month, the Food Bank for Larimer County places importance on cats and dogs.
Colorado Pet Pantry sets up a tent for two hours outside the Loveland Food Share building, 2600 N. Lincoln Ave., to hand out pet food and supplies to clients of the food bank and others needing the help.
“Our goals are definitely aligned… Whether you’re talking about food for families or food for pets, we want to make it easier for families to manage day to day,” said Paul Donnelly, communications director for the Food Bank for Larimer County, which has food pantries in Loveland and Fort Collins. “We don’t want people making a choice between getting food or medicine.”
In February, the Food Bank for Larimer County partnered with Colorado Pet Pantry, and since then, the pet pantry has served an average of 85 to 95 families per month. As of June, 360 families signed up for services for 875 pets, including 499 dogs and 376 cats.
“Everybody has leftover food from their animals for whatever reason. We want to stop that food from going into the landfills,” said Eileen Lambert, Executive Director of the Colorado Pet Pantry.
Our first pet food bank was six years ago on June 6, 2013! So much has changed, but our goals remain the same. In 2018, Colorado Pet Pantry volunteers helped families-in-need feed 2.3 million meals (376,651 lbs) to 38,997 pets in the Denver/Boulder-metro area, Colorado Springs, Conifer, Ordway, and other parts of the state.
Just recently we added pet food banks at La Puentes Food Bank in Alamosa, Aurora Interfaith Community Services Food Bank in Aurora, Sangre De Cristos Volunteers for Community in Colorado City, The Action Center in Lakewood, and Lynn Gardens Baptist Church Food Bank in Pueblo. We are working hard to service all those-in-need throughout the State of Colorado, but we need your help.
Learn how you can help. As of right now, we need help at ALL of our pet food banks. For a calendar view of our upcoming volunteer opportunities, visit the calendar on our website. If you would like to volunteer at a food bank or warehouse workday, visit sign up, select the type of volunteer activity you would like, then select the date you would like to volunteer.
Email email@example.com with any questions.
While our mission is to help pets, our larger goal is to help the family not have to make a choice about who to feed. Access to pet food means there’s more human food for the humans. Did you know you cannot buy pet food with food stamps? Without enough money and food, these are the choices our friends have to make every day.
Dignity. Why are we “open to the public”? This article nails it:“The volunteers at the food bank were silver-haired and kind. On my first visit, I was fresh from my receptionist job, sharply dressed in a skirt suit handed down from my mother. I was worried I wouldn’t look needy enough, so I’d tucked my pay stubs into my purse just in case. It wasn’t necessary. I told the volunteers I needed help and they believed me. I didn’t need to prove I was hungry. It was a time in my life when I rarely received respect from anyone, but I received it from them. Dignity was the first gift they gave me.”
Choice. Food banks can’t provide enough to feed everyone. The article quotes the executive director of a human food bank “Says Habenicht, ‘I wish the public better understood that most folks who visit the food bank are working families who simply can’t make ends meet with the rising cost of living … Not only do families have to choose between paying bills or buying food, they often have to decide who, in the family, gets to eat. These are impossible choices that no family should have to make.’”
Please read this article to learn more about why the “easy road” isn’t so easy. But we do our best to make it as good as it can be.
Read the entire article here.