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Running a pet food pantry a daunting task

Published July 03. 2010 09:00AM

Dear Editor:

I am so proud to have the opportunity to know the people who manage and volunteer in the Shepherd House Food Pantries in Carbon County. The work and expertise that goes into managing a food pantry is astonishing.

Managers along with helpers put in much time and effort to make sure that the pantries are well-stocked. They shop and go where bargains are available all on their own time and use their own vehicles without pay or reimbursement. They are very dedicated and conscientious of providing food for the people in need in Carbon County.

They must follow certain guidelines and complete monthly reports that take considerable time and knowledge. They must do this in order to get funds for the pantry's monthly give outs. Again, this is all done on their own time.

Space for distribution and storage is always an issue. The number of families applying for food distribution is growing by the weeks and months. The more applications received, the more food, paperwork, shopping and "pantry work" must be done by the managers and volunteers. There is much physically hard work put into each and every pantry.

Regarding pet food being given out ("Food banks", 6/21/10): yes, some food banks have received pet food. Yes, ALL food banks know the importance of pets in a family's or individual's life, but please realize that some banks are not able to distribute the food. This is due to the fact that they simply do not have the ability and the space for storage and distribution.

They have not rejected the idea of a pet food bank, but they simply cannot do so. Running a "people food bank" is a daunting task, and people should come first! I am involved with collecting pet food that might be given to a food bank, and I am grateful to help in this endeavor. However, I also see and know the problems that this distribution can incur in a food bank facility.

I want to thank Dr. Mary Lombardo for instituting the idea of a collection of food for a potential pet food bank and asking me to help with this project. Thanks also go to Arby's restaurant, Palmerton Girl Scouts and the students of Lehighton Area High School for donating pet food.

Please call me if you have any questions about the pet food pantry distribution: (610) 377-2021.

Jean Zimmerman

Manager, Carbon County RSVP

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