Sunday, June 27, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The idea of a pet food pantry occurred to Amy Williams around Christmas.
"I saw a news story on TV about a boy in Florida that started one," she said. "I really love pets, and I know lots of people are losing jobs and having a hard time financially. Pets can be one of the biggest strains financially. If you're having a hard time making ends meet, it's hard to buy food for pets."
Williams decided to alleviate that problem locally by starting the East End Pet Food Pantry. The operation began in February.
"We had a $200 donation in the beginning that we bought a lot of stuff with. Then we've just had people dropping off donations," said Williams, who owns two pugs, Pendleton and Pandora, and a cat, Moz, with her boyfriend, Mark Wolfe.
"Lots of people are picking stuff up. There's a demand for it."
In fact, the pantry is low on food because lots of people have been stopping by to pick up food. "We really need dog and cat food badly right now," Williams said. "It's good because it means people are aware of us, but. ..."
Donations are picked up and dropped off at The Book Exchange, 1588 Washington St E., across the street from the East End Dog Park. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Requested donations are dog and cat food and kitty litter. Williams says the current order of need food-wise is cat food, puppy food then dog food.
"We try not to be picky because people are giving us the food as donations, but we urge people to try to get good quality food. Even though you're living on a small budget, you may still have a pet with allergies or dietary restrictions.
"Anything anyone can donate is good, but try to be thoughtful. If you can afford to get nicer food, do that," she urged.
Currently, the pantry works some with Manna Meal, funneling food to them. Williams would like to do more in the future.