For many loving and wonderful owners, pets unfortunately become unmanageable expenses due to hard times. The last thing any pet owner wants to do is give their beloved furry friend up for adoption, and now thanks to organizations known as pet pantries that hand out free pet food (among other pet supplies), many struggling pet owners will get the help they need. Not dissimilar to how cities try to cater to hungry people in need by providing access to soup kitchens, county-wide services are trying to cater to pets in need (who might otherwise go hungry) with pet pantries. Pet pantries also supply owners with the appropriate accessories needed to avoid possible endangerment, like identification tags, leashes, food and water bowls, and even toys.
The organization is designed to keep pets off the streets, out of the shelters, and safe with their owners who want to provide, but are going through a difficult time. Many shelters explain that a high percentage of their pet population are the result of being dropped off by their owners who are having financial difficulties that have left them unable to provide food.
The aforementioned popular tri-state area Pet Pantry was opened in Eatontown, New Jersey, after seriously outgrowing its original home in a local thrift store. The organization now serves over a 1,000 local families and has the means to support even more. So, if you're looking to donate, food and supplies may be dropped off at the main building on Saturdays and Sundays. If you're interested in receiving relief from the Pet Pantry, you must arrive Monday-Friday, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. or Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. You must also bring with you a photo ID, proof that your pet has been spayed or neutered (or a willingness to do so), and proof of income.
If you're not in the New Jersey area, don't fret, pet pantries are popping up all over the place and have been for sometime. They're thriving in the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and across the country. You can check out this (slightly dated) informational video to learn more about the organization's goals, reach and credibility, here:
If there's someone you know who might benefit from this organization, spread the word and let them know that they're not alone. Plenty of people struggle with making ends meet, and pets are not negligible expenses. It's always better to seek support rather than leave your pet at a shelter. Most shelters are overcrowded and unable to provide your pet with the love and comfort that you can. Your pet will be happiest with you, and won't judge you if you need to hit up the pantry to make dinner happen every night. Promise.