Next weekend The Bridges Resort will host the second annual Dog Days of Summer tennis tournament as a benefit for Warren-based PAWSitive Pantry, a nonprofit organization that provides pet food to food shelves across the state.
Founded in 2009 by Jen Bennett, Warren, the group originally operated out of the Onion River Animal Hospital in a spare barn.
“We would pick up food (that we bought at cost from the Agway store in Montpelier) and bring it to Onion River. Volunteers would pack food in one-gallon zip-locks. It was stored there and other volunteers would pick it up to bring it to area food shelves,” Bennett said.
The first year PAWSitive Pantry opened it donated 19,000 pounds of pet food. This year the pantry is on track to donate 40,000 pounds of pet food and to date its organizers have donated a total of 217,000 pounds of pet food. Over 50 volunteers (including 30 from The Valley) help with the work.
PAWSitive Pantry moved its operation out of Onion River and to the Vermont Foodbank after a couple of years and now the Vermont Foodbank assists with the ordering, storage and delivery of pet food.
Working with the food bank has really streamlined the process and made us more efficient,” Bennett said.
Wanting to contribute to something meaningful, Bennett got the idea to create the pantry after reading an article about a similar organization in Washington state. She met with a few vets and the Central Vermont Humane Society and learned that there was a big need – one of the reasons many pets are surrendered is that their owners can no longer afford to buy their food.
She worked with the Ralph and Virginia Mullin Foundation in Tucson, Arizona, to get the paperwork filed to become a 501c3 and she organized a board of directors. Bennett is the president, Jeff Swann is the vice president, Anne Greshin is secretary, Sandra Cardosi is the treasurer and the other board members include Colleen Bloom, John Egan, Steve Kay, Mike Malekoff, Barbara Mitchell and Stacy LeBaron.
People can help PAWSitive Pantry by donating, by helping with the food packing sessions (which take place the first Tuesday of the month from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Vermont Foodbank in Barre) or by entering into the second annual Dog Days of Summer tennis tournament next weekend.
The tournament starts on Saturday, September 12, at The Bridges Resort in Warren at 9 a.m. It includes lunch, a silent auction with over 50 items, goody bags and a post-tournament party. The tournament is a round robin with no ad scoring.
Those who can't play but want to join the party and the auction can do that too. Sign up at www.pawsitivepantry.org/dogdaysofsummer.html or fill out an entry form at The Bridges Resort front desk. People can also participate in the auction by going to www.biddingowl.com/pawsitivepantry.
Some of the auction items include two two-person African safaris, a Mad River Glen ski pass, four one-day passes to any Disney resort, a one-night stay at The Pitcher Inn in Warren, restaurant gift certificates, a hardware store gift certificate, a tattoo gift card and more.
For more information contact Bennett at