Caring For Our Furry Friends

By: Karin Woodside Last Updated: August 4, 2011

Best-Buddies-Pet-Pantry-1During tough economic times, food pantries often feel the strain, as their client base sees significant growth with people losing jobs and falling on hard times. It’s not only humans that suffer; if families can’t feed themselves, it’s a sure bet they cannot feed their pets. Best Buddies Pet Pantry was created this past March in order to address the need of our furry friends.

An animal rescue worker for 6 years, Cheryl Plomann received over 50 emails a day, about shelter animals needing adoption or they would be euthanized. “You see more owners giving up their pets now because they can’t feed them,” Cheryl said. She began doing research into pet pantries across the country, some partnering with existing food pantries and others opening on their own. Plomann came across the unemployment rate in Northwest Indiana and realized there was a great need here. “The goal is to keep family pets with their family,” stated Cheryl.

Best Buddies Pet Pantry is a mobile pantry that hosts distribution days several times a month. The pantry distributes at two locations in Chesterton, the Duneland Family YMCA and the Duneland Community Center, and has more than doubled the amount of people the served in a few short months. In March, the pantry saw 30 families; in just a few short months, the pantry has grown to serve over 100.

Around 400 pounds of pet food is given away at the distribution days. “It’s always a challenge to keep the pantry stocked,” stated Cheryl, “We’ve been really lucky with people giving donations.” Best Buddies relies on sponsors and donations that come in from the 15 donation boxes in the Valparaiso/Chesterton area.

Best-Buddies-Pet-Pantry-2The pantry doesn’t just distribute food; Best Buddies has a table of free pet items at each event, balls, leashes, toys, cat litter, cat nip, that applicants are allowed one item from. “People that come to us are so grateful for what they get,” Cheryl said, “We want to be know in other communities besides Chesterton to serve more.”

Best Buddies is hosting several upcoming events, in order to gather more donations and distribute. The next distribution days will be Tuesday, August 16, 2011, from 9 am to 11 am at the Duneland Community Center and Saturday, August 20, 2011, from 10 am to noon at the Duneland Family YMCA. A pet food collection, Fill the Truck, will be held August 27 from 10 am to 2 pm, in front of the Valpo Kmart. A Yankee Candle fundraiser will be held from August 15 through September 19, with 40% of the sales going to Best Buddies. And on September 3, Chesterton Feed and Garden is hosting a customer appreciation day, which will feature a special presentation from Best Buddies.

Donation boxes are located at:

Chesterton Feed & Garden 400 Locust St Chesterton
Centier Bank 103 Broadway Chesterton
First State Bank of Porter 429 Calumet Chesterton
Ark of the Dunes Animal Hospital 135 E 1100 N Chesterton
5th 3rd Bank 302 Broadway Chesterton
Barkley's Dog Grooming 207 Broadway Chesterton
Walgreens 580 Indian Boundary Chesterton
Curves 709-3 Plaza Drive Chesterton
First State Bank of Porter 230 Lincoln St Porter
Westchester Animal Clinic 55 E Hwy 20 Porter
Valparaiso Animal Hospital 1906 Calumet Valparaiso
Southlane Veterinary Hospital 1259 Sturdy Road Valparaiso
Coco's Canine Cabana 405 Elm St Valparaiso
Jenny Craig Weight Loss Center 2710 LaPorte #140 Valparaiso
WOOF Luxury Unleashed 110 Lincolnway Valparaiso


Visit Best Buddies Pet Pantry on Facebook
bestbuddiespetpantry@yahoo.com

For more information on Best Buddies Pet Pantry, email bestbuddiespetpantry@yahoo.com. Visit the pantry on Facebook to stay updated of events and distribution days!