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.
Our pet food pantry program is run entirely by a few dedicated volunteers in partnership with the volunteers of the Verona Community Food Pantry.
“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?
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 athttp://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!