Kibble Kitchen — a food pantry for pets
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent April 17, 2011 4:32PM
Another pet food pantry is starting up in Chesterton. Best Buddies Pet Pantry is holding its first distribution of pet food from 10 a.m. to noon on May 14 at the Duneland YMCA, 215 Roosevelt, Chesterton.
The pantry has collection boxes at Centier Bank, 103 Broadway; the Moose Lodge, 602 Broadway; and Chesterton Feed and Garden Center, 400 Locust St., all in Chesterton, and First State Bank of Porter, 230 Lincoln St., Porter.
For more information, send an e-mail to email@example.com. The pantry also can be found on Facebook. Donations may be mailed to Best Buddies Pet Pantry, P.O. Box 695, Chesterton, IN 46304.
To learn more on The Kibble Kitchen Pet Food Pantry, call 734-6936, or go to www.TheKibbleKitchen.com. The pantry is located at 5882 U.S. 6 in Portage Commons.
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
PORTAGE — Back in January, Michelle Duca came up with the idea for a pet food pantry, to provide cat and dog food for people who had come upon hard economic times but didn’t want to give up their animals.
Duca figured it would take a year to get off the ground. She figured wrong.
The Kibble Kitchen Pet Food Pantry opened its doors Saturday in donated space in Portage Commons. The opening coincided with drop-off points for donations across the county.
In just a few months, Duca was able to secure a location, a board and enough donations to get started.
“I did not anticipate it moving so fast,” said Duca, the pantry’s founder and executive director.
Duca, who lives in Portage and is a store manager at Westfield Southlake mall, said she’s always been an animal activist and has volunteered at area shelters. She remembers when people would drop off their pets because they could no longer afford them.
“That was years ago and it’s only gotten worse,” she said.
The economic times first started hitting pet owners and their charges a few years ago when the foreclosure crisis began, said Adam Goldfarb, director of the pets-at-risk program for the Humane Society of the United States.
More people were surrendering their pets to shelters, which, with other organizations, stepped up to help out in different ways.
“A lot of shelters are realizing it’s a lot easier, cheaper and better to provide someone with a couple of bags of food than to take in another animal,” he said.
Pet owners in a pinch or who see tough times ahead should start looking at options for their pets early. It’s harder to find help, Goldfarb said, if someone is moving the next day.
Early planning, he said, means pet owners and their animals are “more likely to have a better outcome.”
Duca also is getting a sister organization off the ground, the Porter County Pet Project, which eventually will offer low-cost spay and neuter services and vaccinations.
Anyone seeking pet food, treats or toys from the not-for-profit Kibble Kitchen must provide proof of Porter County residency and financial hardship. Duca also will be getting referrals from food pantries, township trustees and area churches.
People donate food all the time to the Porter County Animal Shelter, said kennel supervisor Becky Carroll, and the shelter provides pet food to those in need. The shelter started the service about 2½ years ago.
“There was such a need for people who need help and it helps them not to have to surrender the animals,” Carroll said, adding the shelter has donated pet food to the Kibble Kitchen.
“I think this food thing is a really good idea. It helps people out and we would rather have them ask for food than have their animals go hungry.”