White Plains, NY – In this tough economy, some pet owners are abandoning their pets because they can no longer afford to feed them. This is the reason that in 2009, Susan Katz of White Plains, New York decided to retire from her job as the office manager of the White Plains Traffic Department and opened the first ever Pet Food Pantry exclusively for pets in the country. You see, Susan Katz loves all kinds of pets from dogs to hamsters.
“I was watching a story on the news about how the bad economy was putting a strain on pet owners and how so many pets were being abandoned or dropped off at shelters because people could no longer afford to keep them,” she said. “That really stuck with me. I started doing some research and found out that there was no pet food pantry in Westchester. Some humane societies and pet shelters have a little bit of food available, but there was nothing dedicated strictly as a food bank for pets.”
The Hudson River Food Pantry is the newly formed nonprofit organization that will make pet food available to individuals and families that can show a true financial need. The pantry is set to open in April from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays in a location donated by the American Legion Post 1038 at its 27 Legion Drive building in Valhalla, NY. Applicants will have to fill out forms and provide income information to determine if they are eligible.
We’re talking about people who may have lost their job, or are senior citizens on a fixed income, or people who face other temporary or permanent financial hardships,” Katz said. “We’re hoping that by providing them with pet food, they’ll be able to keep their pets,” she said.
“It’s really a great idea,” said Sarah Hart, president of the Ardsley-based Cats Assistance shelter. “We get a lot of calls from people who are forced to give up their animals because they can no longer afford to feed them,” Hart said. “I have volunteers who are feeding animals out of their own pockets. This being set up solely to provide food for pet owners will be a great help to the other animal organizations in the area.”
Pet food donations can be made to the Hudson Valley Food Pantry and should be left in the marked drop-off bin at the PETCO store at 324 N. Central Avenue, in Hartsdale. Katz said she’s also looking for volunteers with a variety of skills, as well as applicants who need help providing their pets with food.
For more information, visit the pantry’s website at www.hvpetfoodpantry.org or call 914-907-3487.