'Pet Pantries' Are Helping Owners Keep Their Beloved Animals

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We’ve all heard of soup kitchens—but pet pantries? By providing free or low-cost toys, leashes, litter, and food, these community organizations are designed to keep animals out of shelters and in the arms of their cash-strapped forever humans.

In the years following the economic recession and Hurricane Sandy, many pet owners in the New York metro area were forced to choose between providing for themselves and their animals. To prevent these heartbreaking dilemmas, many pet pantries—including the one in Monmouth County, New Jersey—were born.

Founded by the Monmouth County SPCA, the Pet Pantry distributed donations of dry dog and cat food, wet dog and cat food, cat litter, and other supplies like leashes and toys. Demand grew so large that the Pet Pantry outgrew its home in a local thrift store and needed a bigger space, and recently celebrated the grand opening of its new official location in Eatontown, New Jersey. Now, the organization—which currently serves more than 1100 local families—can help even more people and animals.

Live in the New York City metro area, and need help feeding your cat or dog? To qualify for the MCSPCA Pet Pantry, you must have proof that you’ve spayed or neutered your pet (or intend to), along with proof of of income and a valid photo ID. You can swing by Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Meanwhile, other pet pantries are open for business in the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City, and even more are popping up across the country.

[h/t 94.3 ThePoint]