Food drive for local pantry benefits pets of people in need

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Vernon - posted Thu., Jul. 7, 2011
Taylor, a golden retriever, appreciates the many pet food contributions dropped off at Town & Country Veterinary Associates during a pet food drive held July 1 and 2. The donations were brought to the Hockanum Valley Community Council food pantry for their clients who have pets. Photo by Annie Gentile.
Taylor, a golden retriever, appreciates the many pet food contributions dropped off at Town & Country Veterinary Associates during a pet food drive held July 1 and 2. The donations were brought to the Hockanum Valley Community Council food pantry for their clients who have pets. Photo by Annie Gentile.

With the economy continuing to present challenges for people across the region, the Hockanum Valley Community Council has no shortage of requests for assistance from its food pantry. While they are always looking for non-perishable food item donations, not all local residents might be aware the pantry also welcomes donations of pet food for their clients who are pet owners.

On Friday and Saturday, July 1 and 2, Town and Country Veterinary Associates in Vernon held a pet food drive to collect unopened dry and canned pet food to be donated to the pantry.

The pet food drive was the brainchild of Kelly Cormier, Town and Country’s business manager.

“I just thought it might go well, and it would be a fun thing to do,” said Cormier. She said Town and Country Veterinary Associates does quite a bit of work with Hockanum Valley Community Council, including providing a voucher pet neutering program for their clients who qualify financially. The veterinary group also “adopts” elderly clients during the holidays and helps with some of their needs. Because of their close association with HVCC, Cormier said the Town and Country staff is very much aware that there are people who use the pantry that also have pets, and it is not uncommon for pet-lovers to feed their pets before themselves. She said she hoped that if HVCC clients did not have to buy pet food, it might free up a little bit of their funds to purchase food for themselves.

Cormier added that they got the word out about the pet food drive by advertising it locally, putting it on their Facebook page, and including little notes on customer receipts.

Town and Country is no stranger to lending a helping hand in the local community and tries to do a number of things that benefit the townspeople, such as rabies clinics and working with HVCC.

Cormier said she feels it is important when helping out to remind people to include pets in their giving programs. “We’ve seen a lot of generosity [to this food drive],” she said.

“We’re thrilled to do these things,” said Gayle Block, the owner of the practice. “We hope it promotes everyone to donate - donate locally, for sure. I’m a real fan of it. There are a lot of pet owners out there who need help, so donate, donate, donate!” She added that there are many ways to lend a hand, not just by making donations to this particular program, but also to any of the town’s many social service organizations.

“It’s been pretty successful,” added Cormier. “Who knows? Maybe we can make this a twice-a-year thing,” she said.


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