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New home sought for pet-food pantry

Dog cfood lines walls as board members Sue Robuck AmandGucciardo work an open house Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry Portage Ind.

Dog and cat food lines the walls as board members Sue Robuck and Amanda Gucciardo work at an open house at Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry in Portage, Ind., on Sept. 29, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Help out

Contact the Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry at (219) 734-6936. The pantry also can be found on Facebook.

Donations may be mailed to The Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry, P.O. Box 1013, Portage IN 46368.

Updated: April 21, 2014 5:48PM



PORTAGE — For three years, the Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry has provided pet food to low-income Porter County residents so they would not have to surrender their furry friends during hard times.

The pantry also expanded its services to offer financial assistance for people to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered.

Now, the nonprofit is looking for a little help itself. Michelle Duca, the agency’s founder, learned Friday that the pantry will need to vacate its space in Portage Commons, at 5882 U.S. 6, within a month.

The landlord has been allowing the pantry to use the storefront, just shy of 1,300 square feet, rent-free since the pantry started up, but now has a business that wants to rent the property.

The pantry is in a pinch, Duca said; the landlord has offered a much smaller space in the shopping center for the short term, also rent-free. Though Kibble Kitchen is covering its own commercial insurance and utilities, it doesn’t have the budget to pay full rent.

Duca has two potential locations in mind for a move, if she can find a donor generous enough to pick up the rent. She would like a location at least the size of the current storefront in Portage, South Haven or perhaps the east side of Hobart.

“If we go too far, we are taking away from the clientele we already have,” she said.

The pantry serves between 50 and 60 pets a month, 90 percent of which live in the Portage/South Haven area, Duca said.

“I have almost 10,000 pounds of food in the pantry that need to be moved,” she said, adding the agency, which celebrates its third anniversary next month, was on the cusp of expanding its services to parts of Lake County.

She has been calling around about empty storefronts, but they are either for sale or the rent is too high. Any funding the pantry receives goes toward its service.

“If I have to pay $1,800 (for rent), I think of how many animal can be fixed,” she said, adding vouchers for spay/neuter assistance make up about 80 percent of the agency’s services.

She is hoping someone will help out.

“There’s somebody out there, our guardian angel, who will step up and help us,” she said.



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