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Indies Create Food Pantries and Fundraisers for Pets in Need During COVID-19

Stores ensure dogs and cats don’t go hungry because their people are struggling financially.

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INDIES CONTINUE TO SUPPORT pet parents in need during the COVID-19 crisis. These stores have created food pantries for the many who have found themselves without work, with products available for free in a special display or through other means. Many businesses already had partnerships with community food banks in place and have ramped up those efforts. Manufacturers are also chipping in by donating products.

Razzle Dazzle Doggie Bow-tique in Bradley, IL, not only offers food, but encourages customers to make donations if they are able.

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Earth Pets in Gainesville, FL, offers sample-size dog and cat food in its pet food pantry, and also welcomes donations.

Petagogy in Pittsburgh, PA, has teamed up with Hungry Hippo’s Pet Food Pantry and Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid to provide free pet food to out-of-work service workers in the Pittsburgh area.

Heather Blum says, “Together with Hungry Hippo’s (a program of Biggies Bullies, a foster-based bully breed rescue), we are providing food weekly to PRWA service worker households who request aid directly from PRWA. As of this weekend, we will have provided free pet food and supplies to 163 pets in 64 households!”

At Flying M Pet Grocery in Houston, TX, dog and cat food are available out front, and monetary donations have been pouring in to help support the pantry.

Busch Pet Products & Care in Cape Girardeau, MO, operates the pet food bank Howie’s Harvest in conjunction with SEMO Food Bank. The store held a Peeps for Paws Virtual Egg Hunt to raise funds for the effort.

Stacy Busch-Heisserer says, “We sold 100 Easter egg baskets for $20 each, and we had an amazing turnout!”

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Paddywack in Mill Creek, WA, set up the Food Angel Fund. Pet parents can request financial assistance for food and cat litter when placing an order online. Those more fortunate can purchase a gift certificate online, with the value going into the fund.

Pattie Zeller of Animal Connection in Charlottesville, VA, has been donating food to Meals on Wheels, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and the SPCA’s Pet Food Pantry.

She says, “We’re also providing food to three of the local rescue groups. Plus anyone who is out of work can come get our grab bags of pet food. We are getting deep discounted canned food from a distributor who is doing a label design change and older boxes of food samples.”

Asheville Pet Supply in Asheville, NC,  has solicited donated food from several manufacturers for customers in need, and the store serves as a donation drop-off location for Madison County Animal Shelter and rescue groups.

So many in need responded to the Community Pet Pantry at Three Happy Hounds in Fernley, NV, that it will need to take a break to restock through donations.

Dogma Bakery in Arlington, VA, has partnered with Animal Welfare League of Arlington to keep its pet food pantry stocked.

Sheila Raebel says, “Our local shelter has a food pantry, and they have people buying gift cards from us, we buy the food at wholesale for them, and then deliver so people can stay at home.”

All Pets Considered in Greensboro, NC, now has the Two Paws Up Community Pantry inside the store’s community room.

“I have reached out to community leaders, organizations, restaurant owners, rescue organizations, etc. and invited them to send people in to get product. We have talked about it in our Facebook Lives and invited customers to send individuals in need to us. Our shelter also is aware we have it and can send people to us. So we are getting people from all over the city to get product.”

Do you have a pet food pantry? Or are you helping in another way? Email pamela@petsplusmag.com, and I’ll add you to this story.

To hear about other ways indie pet businesses are supporting their community during COVID-19, listen to our April Behind the Pages podcast episode.

Pamela Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Ty the Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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