Best Friends’ Pet Food Pantry Providing Aid for Pet Parents

Community

Kaiya Nield bags food at Best Friends Animal Society.
Photo: Chay Mosqueda

Best Friends Animal Society helps Salt Lake’s furry friends find loving homes and lifelong families through adoption and fostering—all of which aligns with their primary objective of making Utah a “no-kill” animal state. In order to sustain this movement, Best Friends believes in caring for animals through donations to community caregivers, which is why they began their pet food pantry as an additional resource for residents.

The Best Friends pet food pantry started in Utah at their Lifesaving Center in Sugarhouse (2005 S. 1100 East) around 2014. The pet food pantry is another program working toward their “no-kill” goal by filling pet bellies and providing supplies to pet parents in need, aiming to reduce the number of dogs and cats surrendered to shelters. Combating shelter overcrowding and any possible pet losses due to lack of space, food and supplies, the pantry works to take care of and provide resources to low-income residents who may not be able to fully take care of their pets.

“The best way to prevent animals from having to die in a shelter is by preventing them from going to the shelter in the first place.”

In addition, a large portion of the donations are allocated to community cat caregivers who care for colonies of stray cats.“These animals who are unwanted, in shelters or who are unsocialized are our responsibility,” says pet food pantry Manager Patrick Theobald. “They are domestic animals. They wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for people, so any suffering that these animals are going through is a direct result of human actions. We have a moral obligation to do whatever we can to help them.”

Help for Utah’s pet parents is easily accessible on the Best Friends website—food and pet supplies from the pantry can be requested through a simple application form. Requests for aid are often granted. The only restriction when applying is that after an owner’s fourth request in a year, Best Friends will prioritize applicants who have yet to be helped. Theobald says the pantry’s goal is to provide this service to as many people as possible. “That’s really the only restriction. We don’t ask people to prove that they are in need—if you’re asking, we believe you,” he says.

Frankie Brummett separates food donations at Best Friends Animal Society.
Photo: Chay Mosqueda

For those who can’t pick up their pet items in person, Best Friends also offers a pet food delivery service. Volunteers deliver food and supplies to owners’ homes upon request to ensure that the pantry is accessible for all. Resources at the pantry cover all sorts of pet needs including pet bedding, wet and dry food for cats and dogs (their most needed item), leashes, collars, kitty litter and toys. Theobald says that, for the most part, if it’s pet related and they can find a use for it, they will take it. Donations can be new or used items as long as they are not in disrepair. Open bags of dry food can also be donated, and various dry foods of the same brand can be combined, resealed and ready for pick-up or delivery.

“These animals who are unwanted, in shelters or who are unsocialized are our responsibility.”

The pantry relies entirely on donations to operate, which come from the public as well as the many partners of Best Friends. Donations from community members are vital to filling hungry bellies and making a happy home life a reality for pets and owners in need of support for giving their best friends their best life. “The best way to prevent animals from having to die in a shelter is by preventing them from going to the shelter in the first place,” Theobald says.

Anyone can donate pet food and supplies by dropping items off in one of their many donation bins outside during their operating hours, 12–6 p.m. Mon–Sun. If someone can’t get to the physical location, Best Friends also has a wishlist of pet items on AmazonSmile where you can purchase an item and have it shipped to the center. You can donate and find more information at bestfriends.org/salt-lake-city/help-services/pet-food-pantry.

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