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Banking on Generosity to Feed Hungry Animals

In hard times, pet food pantries supply a lifeline

The hard economic times continue to make it difficult for some families to put food on the table … or in their animals’ bowls.

To help, dozens of shelters and nonprofit organizations around the country have established pet food banks—providing free food to ease pet owners’ financial burdens and maybe keep family companions in their homes.

“You guys are a lifesaver,” Donna Messner of Hagerstown, Md., tells food bank volunteers as she picks up a bag of cat food at the twice-monthly pet food bank run by the Humane Society of Washington County. An owner of nine cats, she’s part of a steady stream of financially challenged people coming to the humane society’s back parking lot on a cold, cloudy December morning for bags of food and litter that volunteers are fetching from two large trucks.

Walking to her car, Messner explains, “With the way the economy is, they’ve made it so I can keep my cats.” She says she can’t find work, and her husband is on disability. “Sometimes it’s hard just to keep us in food.”

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