WILMINGTON — During these economically challenging times, many pet owners are faced with making the tough decision of whether or not they can afford to continue to care for their beloved pet. Despite the fact that many of these decisions are made from pet owners that provide good and loving homes for these pets, financial circumstances often force pet owners to surrender their pet to a shelter.
In fact, 30 percent of people who surrender their animal to a shelter list financial hardship as the reason they could not continue to care for their pet.
Thankfully, pet owners in the Wilmington area have been offered a helping hand with providing for their pets, thanks to the efforts from the newly opened Wilmington Animal Food Pantry.
The Wilmington Animal Food Pantry was started by Rescue Allies, Inc. founder, MacKenzie Whalen-Dunn.
Rescue Allies is an organization that helps provide solutions for animal rescues and shelters faced with over-capacity problems, but Whalen-Dunn knew she could do more to help the overcrowding crisis.
Working within the Rescue Allies organization, Whalen-Dunn noted, “We wanted to create a solution at the root of the problem. We took a look at why people were surrendering their animals, and many of the cases were preventable.”
The main goal for the Wilmington Animal Food Pantry is to provide free animal supplies for families in need of temporary support. Giving families a helping hand while they get back on their feet is a much better alternative for families and their pets that may otherwise be forced to turn a beloved pet over to an already overcrowded shelter.
The supplies offered by the pantry are more than just pet food, the pantry also can provide cat litter, crates, puppy gates, and grooming products.
These much needed services provided by the Wilmington Animal Food Pantry are not limited to Wilmington residents. The pantry also serves the surrounding communities of Tewksbury, Billerica, Woburn, Burlington, Reading, and North Reading.
Families in need can fill out a request form online, and when the requested items are ready, arrangements will be made to have them delivered to your front door.
Currently, the pantry is staffed by four volunteers and runs solely on donations of both physical items and monetary donations.
Whalen-Dunn is hopeful to expand the pantry’s services in the near future by providing Vet Vouchers to receive free vet services and offering free training sessions. She also hopes to soon be able to assist in covering pet deposits, which are required by housing and apartments that allow pets.
As the holidays draw near, Whalen-Dunn is preparing for a busy season.
“We are planning for anywhere between 50 to 100 (families in need) around the holidays.” Whalen-Dunn added. “We never ask for proof of need, we operate on an honor system.”
To fill out a confidential request form, or to make a donation of items, money or your time as a volunteer, please visit https://linktr.ee/wilmingtonanimalfoodpantry.