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.


Eileen, Colorado Pet Pantry Executive Director