Local pet food pantry struggling to keep up with increasing demand

Local pet food pantry struggling to keep up with increasing demand

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – A local pet food pantry that helps hundreds of people feed their animals every year could be forced to close its doors soon.

In the last couple years, the pantry, which has been operated by Toledo’s PET Bull Project for the last decade, has increased its client list by hundreds of people and its becoming a real struggle to keep up with the increasing demand.

There are long lines at the pantry every week. It’s a place that helps hundreds of people feed their pets every month.

“When people are having a hard time feeding their families, it makes it more difficult to feed their pets, so how do we keep them out of shelters and rescues? We help with the pet food,” said Cindy Reinsel, director of Toledo’s PET Bull Project.

To put it all in perspective, the pantry gave out about 188,000 pounds of food last year alone.

“We are really close to closing the doors on our pantry because we can’t keep up with the demand and don’t have income to pay for all the food ourselves,” said Reinsel. “We are a small organization.”

The pantry opened in 2013 and demand has consistently grown. Reinsel says they’ve been helping more people who haven’t needed help before.

“We started out with a couple hundred, now we have more than 800 clients in our system and we are seeing five to six new people every week,” said Reinsel.

The pantry relies on donations to stock the shelves, which is getting harder to do. Reinsel says she can’t imagine our city without the pantry.

“I would be devastated if we couldn’t do this for our community,” said Reinsel. “It is near and dear to my heart.”

The pantry helped Lori Richardson keep her pets during a tough time when she says she had no income.

“I had surgery and I was off work for 12 weeks so they helped me out few times,” said Richardson. “I am very grateful.”

Because of all of the challenges, pantry leaders are getting creative when it comes to raising money.

“We started a new program called the Adopt-a-Month program where we get a business to donate money to help cover the pantry cost for one month,” said Reinsel.

Pet Finatics is a family-owned store in Oregon and is the first sponsor of the new program.

“It is the most heartwarming feeling to have, knowing that you are part of helping keep animals with their owners,” said Jena Cornell, manager of Pet Finatics. “I think there would be a lot more animals in shelters, on the streets, malnourished animals because there would be no help for people who really need it.”

The Adopt-a-Month program has a price tag of $100. The goal is to have a different business sponsor the program every month. If you are not part of a business but you’d like to help, you can donate money along with cat and dog food.

The pet food pantry is open on Tuesday nights from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is located at Toledo’s PET Bull Project located at 2249 Tremainsville Road. In addition to the food pantry, the PET Bull Project also offers things such as low-cost grooming and training.

To learn more, or if you need help feeding your pets, click here.

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