Pet Food Pantry

Nonprofit helping to feed dogs and cats having a pop-up in Midlothian.

Nearly one-third of pet parents worry about being able to feed their pets because of financial stressors.

In a study conducted by PetSmart Charities, pet parents identified the use of pet food pantries as a strategy that kept them from having to surrender their pets to shelters. Given that pet food has been identified as the second most expensive aspect of pet ownership, the Compassion Animal Project (CAP), a Virginia-based animal welfare nonprofit, came up with a solution.

Pop-up pet food pantries help pet parents ensure their pets get the nutrients they need at no cost to their owners.

The nonprofit’s last pop-up pet food pantry in Richmond was in December 2022 at Holiday Barn Pet Resorts. “Since our inaugural pop-up, our team has traveled on a quarterly basis to host pop-up pantries in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles and South Carolina,” says Erica Jellerson, director of communications for CAP. “No loving pet parent should ever have to consider surrendering their pet because of food insecurity.”

Compassion Animal Project will host a drive-through, pop-up pet food pantry this Saturday at the Midlothian Holiday Barn Pet Resort. Their goal is to send pet food home with as many pet parents as possible. “We’ll load up a car with as much as we can, ensuring that, based on the number of pet parents in attendance, we provide food as equitably as possible,” Jellerson explains. “Pet parents can come through multiple times throughout the pop-up event and pick up for their friends and family who may be in need and can’t make it.”

Since last December’s Virginia pop-up, CAP has provided more than 125,000 meals for dogs and cats throughout the country. Come Saturday, they’ll have over 8,000 pounds of dog and cat food available for pickup. That’s enough to provide more than 25,000 meals for area pets. If there’s any leftover pet food when the pop-up ends, they’ll arrange for it to be picked up by local animal welfare organizations to distribute to their populations.

The primary mission of CAP is their grant program, which matches pet parents with funds to help pay for their animal’s lifesaving medical care. Using nationwide veterinary partners, the nonprofit supports families and saves pets in need through their commitment to discounting services by 25%. “This allows us to stretch dollars further for the families with pets that need our help the most,” she says. “We have over 85 partner hospitals in more than 24 states throughout the country.”

According to Jellerson, most families receive financial assistance of up to 80% of the proposed treatment cost, with determinations generally made in as little as 30 minutes. Nine out of ten pet parents are approved for a grant.

But at Saturday’s event, it’ll all about the pet food. Best of all, there’s no limit to how much people can take. “Come with an empty trunk,” suggests Jellerson. “But maybe not a U-Haul!”

Pet Food Pantry Pop-up will be held Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Holiday Barn Pet Resort, 614 Johnston Willis Dr.


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