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 & Garden400 Locust StChesterton
Centier Bank103 BroadwayChesterton
First State Bank of Porter429 CalumetChesterton
Ark of the Dunes Animal Hospital135 E 1100 NChesterton
5th 3rd Bank302 BroadwayChesterton
Barkley's Dog Grooming207 BroadwayChesterton
Walgreens580 Indian BoundaryChesterton
Curves709-3 Plaza DriveChesterton
First State Bank of Porter230 Lincoln StPorter
Westchester Animal Clinic55 E Hwy 20Porter
Valparaiso Animal Hospital1906 CalumetValparaiso
Southlane Veterinary Hospital1259 Sturdy RoadValparaiso
Coco's Canine Cabana405 Elm StValparaiso
Jenny Craig Weight Loss Center2710 LaPorte #140Valparaiso
WOOF Luxury Unleashed110 LincolnwayValparaiso

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