In 2009 PAWSitive Pantry started out with a few friends, some “damaged” food from Walmart and a desire to prevent families from having to give up pets during trying times. The goal was and still is to keep pets in the family and out of shelters.
Later partnering with the Vermont Foodbank, PAWSitive Pantry was able to expand the program statewide. Last year more than 100 food shelves received pet food through the program. To date, they have distributed over 400,000 pounds of food.
According to founder and president Jen Bennett, Warren, “This wouldn’t have been possible without the financial and volunteer support of individuals and businesses in the Mad River Valley and elsewhere who feel so strongly about helping those experiencing food insecurity feed their pets.”
She cited some examples of support from the last year:
Kaelyn Howard, Miss Vermont Junior High 2019, organized a pet food drive and volunteered at the annual Sugarbush Resort Dog Parade to benefit PAWSitive Pantry. When asked why she became involved, Kaelyn said “Dogs are life!” She doesn’t want them to suffer when their owners are going through hard times.
Lucy and Emerson Cronin and Grace Hamill of Charlestown, MA, sold lemonade to help raise money for the organization, saying, “Thank you for supporting the animals.”
The Implementation Team at Dealer.com selected PAWSitive Pantry last year for their annual Christmas Giving collection. Martha McKenna, a team member, had read that people who have pets and are experiencing food insecurity will often share whatever food they have with their pets. Providing for their pets helps those who are food insecure too.
A fun opportunity to help is coming up on February 22 at the 10th annual Sugarbush Resort Dog Parade to benefit PAWSitive Pantry (Lincoln Peak Courtyard, 2 to 4 p.m.).