Cecilia Oliveros, Animal Friends pet retention liaison, gathers supplies with the help of a furry friend. The new Focus on Renewal pet food pantry in McKees Rocks is one of 30 in the area.
By Elizabeth Perry
Nobody should have to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their pet.
To combat increasing need, the Focus on Renewal Pet Food Pantry opened July 19 at 500 Chartiers Ave., McKees Rocks.
Thanks to a partnership with Animal Friends, a no-kill animal shelter, residents who visit the food pantry can pick up chow for their cats and dogs.
“I do believe there’s a lot of interest. It’s just a matter of getting the word out,” said June Fleming, community resource coordinator with Focus on Renewal.
Fleming said pre-pandemic, she would get donations for pet food, but those dried up. She had just been working on a flier to solicit more donations, when Cecilia Oliveros, Animal Friends pet retention liaison, called her about developing a pet food pantry.
“It was fate,” Fleming said.
Oliveros tracks requests from pet owners who ask Animal Friends for help with vet care and pet food, and noticed a large number of requests from McKees Rocks. Animal Friends supplies food to roughly 30 pantries in the area, Oliveros said.
Many people who already have pets slip into poverty and need additional assistance, while others don’t have the heart to turn away stray cats or dogs that need care, Oliveros said.
“We also have a low-cost clinic,” Oliveros said.
Pet food is available to those who visit the Focus on Renewal Pantry. If your pet is in need of medical care, visit ThinkingOutsideTheCage.Org or call (412) 847-7004.
Donations can be made as well. Contact June Fleming at (412) 331-1685 x 310 or Animal Friends at (412) 847-7004.