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The Mosby Foundation's Pet Food Pantry was started in the fall of 2009 during the very difficult financial times of the Great Recession our country was facing then, leading to an upsurge in some families surrendering their pets to shelters for lack of funds to feed and care for them. We realized that we would need to partner with an existing social service or volunteer group to distribute food to those who truly needed it, and we were fortunate to find a great partner in our areas largest people food pantry, the Verona Community Food Pantry, a 501c3 agency with a large volunteer base, an active board, and an angel for an Executive Director. Hunter Fauber started the food pantry out of his garage years ago, and it now operates out of a warehouse facility on the grounds of the Augusta County Government Center. The Food Pantry has an income screening process and set hours for distribution, so it was an ideal partner for our pet food pantry.

In our first several years, our donations primarily came from donation bins that we placed at local retailers and veterinarians' offices, including our local Kroger store (our best location - -thanks, Kroger!) A few key volunteers picked up food from the bins regularly and delivered it to the food pantry, where it was bagged and delivered to eligible families. To increase awareness of our program and to increase our donations, we partnered with the Staunton City Schools in 2010-2011 to hold a contest for people and pet food donations at all City schools. This program brought in over 10,000 pounds of people and pet food! The winning school received a $1000 check and a pizza party, courtesy of our local Domino's Pizza.

Since 2012, though, our pet food pantry has really taken off and has become a lifesaving resource not just for local pet owners, but rescues, shelters, and pet food banks throughout Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. We became an affiliate distribution site for Rescue Bank, a national clearinghouse for donated pet food from numerous participating manufacturers. Partnering again with our local food pantry as a receiving and distribution site, we have received over 638,000 pounds of dog and cat food from manufacturers such as Purina, Nutro, Mars, and others from 2012 through the end of July 2014!!! This has allowed us to distribute pet food to our local food pantry, as well as to over 50 participating rescues, shelters, and pet food banks who have signed up with Rescue Bank. We are so grateful for the donations of the manufacturers and the people who make Rescue Bank work!

Our pet food pantry program is run entirely by a few dedicated volunteers, Jennifer Kirkland and Angela Brown, in partnership with the volunteers of the Verona Community Food Pantry.

SCRAMBLING TO PAY IT FORWARD



The Verona Food Pantry was hopping. A total of 12,000 pounds of canned dog food had arrived by tractor trailer for the third time this year. Thanks to The Mosby Foundation's status as an affiliate with the Rescue Bank, rescues from all over Virginia and West Virginia took advantage of the Bank's mission, to support the animal rescue and rehabilitation communities with much needed supplies and services.

Pet food manufacturers sometimes remove perfectly good pet food from their inventory because it is nearing its expiration date, has been re-branded, or because it may have been incorrectly packaged. Instead of dumping it out, they contact the Rescue Bank for collection and re-distribution to animal welfare and shelter groups all across the country.

Our community partner in this ambitious endeavor is the Verona Food Pantry, another essential non-profit. They act as the distributor of this much needed commodity. For them, the pet food allows struggling families to keep their beloved pets, instead of surrendering them to overburdened local shelters.

The Mosby Foundation pays for the freight of the food shipment. Approved rescue groups who have registered with Rescue Bank then pay for the shipping for the amount of pet food they purchase. For Angela Brown, owner of Happy Tails and who works with the Chesapeake Area Malamute Protection, the Rescue Bank's donation stretches thin dollars.

"The dog food that we are able to purchase through The Mosby Foundation for our Alaskan Malamute Rescue helps tremendously. The money saved on our food budget allows us to save more lives. We're thrilled to have this opportunity so close to home."

And that statement rings true for all rescue groups. Every pound of food received frees up another dollar for vet care, spay/neuter services, improvements to their shelter, or medical attention to animals. But to take advantage of this generosity, groups must act fast.

"We never know when we'll get a truck in," Angela said. "In this shipment, we were told it would be all cat food. When the truck came in on Tuesday, it was all dog food. Then we have to hustle and inventory it."

Once the pet food has been inventoried, an email is sent out across the area. "The first wave of emails goes to those who have not received anything," Angela said. "Once we receive responses back, and we have food left over, we send an email to everybody. First come, first serve."

To make sure it's fair, reservation of food supplies for the responding approved groups are all based on the time the email was received. Once confirmed, rescues have to scramble to pay it forward to their communities. Most have 12 hours to arrange a day off from work, rent a truck and then drive as far as four hours to pick up the pet food.

For Floyd County Humane Society president, Cathy Poole, the food is a welcomed relief. "This is our third trip here," she told us. We get the call one day ahead and we scramble to make it because we don't want to miss it."

Melissa Miller-Piselli is extremely active in the animal world. She works with two approved groups, The Chocolate Chip Dalmatian Assistance League, and The Humane Society of Shenandoah County.

The last time she collected dog food from the Rescue Bank, a portion of it went for puppies that were born in a trash dump. "We really appreciate this," Melissa said. "It has just been a godsend. Just wonderful."

Currently, there are 45 groups that are eligible to participate in our affiliate area. On the last shipment, 29 animal groups responded to The Mosby Foundation's email call, driving as far as four hours to pick up food.

To us, this event is the definition of "community in action." It's sharing resources to ease the economic burden so many animal groups face. But perhaps, even more rewarding, is how it brings so many passionate groups together, helping one another.

Paying it forward can best be described as sharing love over and over again. We're proud to be a part of that love.

Here is a list of the animal welfare groups that took part in the last Rescue Bank shipment.

Alleghany Humane Society Augusta Dog Adoptions
Barn Cat Buddies
Cat's Cradle of the Shenandoah Valley
Chesapeake Area Alaskan Malamute Protection
Chocolate Chip Dalmatian Assistance League
Clair Park Animal Hospital
Dalmatian Rescue of SW VA
Floyd County Humane Society
Friends Fur Life
Hair of the Dog Rescue
Happy Whiskers Animal Assistance
HOPE
Houlagans' Rest Humane Society of Shenandoah County
In His Hands Small Animal Rescue
Louisa Humane Society
Madison-Greene Humane Society
Monroe County Animal Assistance League
PAWS Pet Helpers
PIGS Reach Out Rescue and Resources
Rikki's Refuge
Rockbridge Dog Rescue
St. Seton's Orphaned Animals
Saving Furry Friends
Shenandoah Valley Spay/Neuter Clinic
Siberian Husky Assist Rescue
Tails of Courage




THE MOSBY FOUNDATION AFFILIATES WITH RESCUE BANK
TO RECEIVE PET FOOD SHIPMENTS!
 
January 2012: 
GREAT NEWS for our Pet Food Pantry and for rescues and shelters in our region! 
The Mosby Foundation has become a recognized affiliate of a national pet food distribution program called Rescue Bank. Rescue Bank facilitates the shipping of pet food donated by manufacturers to affiliates throughout the country, who then distribute the pet food to approved pet food pantries, rescue groups, and shelters.  Click on their website for more information on Rescue Bank:  http://www.rescuebank.org/

We hope that this will allow us to provide significant contributions of dog and cat food to our local Verona Community Food Pantry to help families on public assistance feed their pets.  It will also let us help other area and regional rescues and pet food pantries with distributions of food in return for nominal contributions to offset our shipping costs for the food.

In our first shipment, we received approximately 30,000 pounds of dry and canned dog and cat food; we were able to donate over 3,000 pounds of food to the Verona Community Food Pantry, and to donate to sixteen other rescues, humane societies, and pet food pantries!  We hope to receive a shipment at least once every few months - - we already have 40 eligible rescues, shelters, and pet food pantries signed up to request food when we get a shipment!  But we still need ongoing local donations of pet food through our donation bins located all over our area (see poster below), and we always welcome donations of money earmarked for cat or dog food to be distributed at the Mosby office directly or through the Verona Community Food Pantry.

Thanks to Jennifer Kirkland and Angela Brown for coordinating our Rescue Bank affiliation.





Mosby’s Mouths To Feed Teaches Wise Love

Staunton, VA

“We don’t have enough food coming in,” one of our volunteers said. We all knew it, but it sounded even more critical when she said it. And it was. That’s when we sat down and brainstormed ways to get the community involved in raising pet and people food. Everyone would benefit, but how could we get the community involved?




36,000 Pounds Of LOVE

Verona, VA

What happens when there is a huge need, a huge solution, but no way to bridge the gap? The answer: a community that makes a way where none is apparent. That’s what happened in Verona, Virginia. The good heartedness of a small community was simply too big to ignore. click here to read more...




 


History of The Mosby Foundation Pet Food Pantry


Mosby’s Pet Food Pantry is a recent initiative of The Mosby Foundation that promotes one aspect of our mission - - to keep families together - - human and animal members.  Pet Food Pantries have sprung up all over the country during these difficult economic times as a way to try and prevent families from abandoning their pets for lack of financial resources - - it's been in the news all over the country - - job losses/layoffs/cutbacks, etc. causing foreclosures and families needing to downsize, etc.  Regionally, the Shenandoah Valley Spay Neuter Clinic started a pet food pantry at its Harrisonburg location and there is a Piedmont Pet Pantry in Charlottesville that partners with a people food pantry. 

We are VERY grateful for the partnership of the Verona Community Food Pantry (VCFP), the largest of the all volunteer food pantries in our area (there are approximately 25+).   VCFP serves Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County residents living below the poverty line.  To read more about the Verona Community Food Pantry and the wonderful work that they do, visit their website at http://www.veronafoodpantry.org/index.html.  The Mosby Foundation Board wanted to be sure that we were meeting a need of those truly eligible, and that we did it in the most efficient way possible.  Partnering with the Verona Community Food Pantry has allowed us to do that - - they have eligibility criteria established, a corps of volunteers for bagging/distribution, an established location with set hours, etc.  We are immensely grateful to Hunter Fauber, Exec. Director of VCFP, for his cooperation in distributing our collected pet food to the families who need it. 
THE NEED has grown exponentially in the last several years.  Just for 2009, from the year before, numbers of people served increased by 1/3 - -32.5%!!!!! (Triggered by several large layoffs and plant closings in our area.) Number of children served increased 51%, number of seniors served increased 26% - - - - overall, the pantry received an average of 15 new families every day it was open in 2009!!!

So, The Mosby Foundation has responded - - - thanks to the idea of Staunton Kroger, and the cooperation of many area businesses, we have donation bins in place at many area businesses, including grocery stores, vet's offices, and other retail establishments.  See the main poster for a list of locations.  We accept dry/canned dog and cat food (no treats, please - - too hard to divide up and we want to address the problem of FOOD first) and we have volunteers who pick up and deliver to VCFP at their set hours for receiving donations.

We've gotten cooperation from The Wildlife Center, which receives some bulk food donations and which is passing those to the Verona Community Food Pantry in our name.  We have applied for some grants for pet food from large manufacturers and retailers, but have not received any yet. 

We partnered in 2010-2011 with VCFP and the Staunton City Schools to run a contest during the school year to collect pet food AND people food for VCFP - - donation bins were placed in each school and the school that brought in the most volume of food (per pupil average!) got a $1000 prize and a party and t-shirts for all students.  The contest was a HUGE success - - the students, parents and staff brought in a total of over 10,000 pounds of people and pet food!!! And the winner, with 4,667 pounds of food, was Bessie Weller Elementary School.  Go Bessie Weller Bees!!! 

We are always looking for more businesses to act as donation bin sites, volunteers to help with food pick up and delivery and to host parties / food drives, etc.  For example, we’ve had several children (and some adults!) celebrate their birthdays and ask for pet food instead of gifts, etc.  What a GREAT idea!



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