By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Pet Food Pantry of Oklahoma City (PFP) is a food bank for animals, which serves Oklahoma City, Edmond, Yukon, Mustang, Del City, Midwest City, Moore, and Norman.
Since 2010, PFP has been the only agency providing ongoing pet assistance to low income seniors, veterans, and the homeless.
Every warm weather season, the PFP has provided flea and tick preventative medicine for the pets of their clients. However, the loss of some much needed grant assistance, PFP has not been able to provide this aid and is seeking assistance from supporters.
“Today, we are asking friends of the PFP, and anyone concerned about animal welfare and/or assisting low income Oklahomans, to help us with our goal of raising the funds necessary to provide our clients with flea and tick medicine through the summer,” said Michelle Meazell, PFP board member.
“As all pet owners in Oklahoma know, without regular flea and tick treatments, summer is a miserable time for us, and especially for our pets. Besides causing discomfort, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are vectors for other diseases (heartworm, Lyme disease, and many others) that cost far more to treat than prevent.”
PFP is the only pet food pantry in Oklahoma, as well as the only pet food pantry in the United States that delivers to its clients.
The organization currently has 123 senior clients and 85 homeless clients for a total of 510 pets that they provide assistance to regularly.
“In order to provide all of the dogs and cats with a three month supply of preventative flea/tick/mosquito medicine, we need to raise $8000,” Meazell said. “This money will go directly to buying these medications and only these medications for the PFP clients. Any amount is appreciated.”
In addition to basic nutrition and medication, the PFP provides additional support to their clients, in the form of spay and neuter assistance, as well as general vet services.
Meazell stated. “If people want to donate food, medications, etc., they can drop it off at the Norman Petco (1670 24th Avenue NW, University Town Center) or look on our website for our donation sites. We take opened and expired food as well.”
The National Coalition for the Homeless estimates that between 5-10 percent of homeless people have dogs and/or cats.
Kim Pempin, Founder The Pet Food Pantry of OKC, Inc. said, “I’ve shared my life with animals since I was a little girl. They are my best friends and a constant source of joy and love. I can’t image even one day without them.
“For animal lovers, it’s hard to imagine not having enough money to care of your beloved pets,” added Pempin. “But can you imagine having to choose between feeding yourself and feeding your pet?”
“For many people we serve, this is a reality. For some, their pet is their only family or friend. The human-animal bond is vital to a person’s well-being, offering companionship, unconditional love, joy, comfort, friendship and acceptance – all without judgment.
“No one should face the decision of giving up their pets just because they have no resources for pet food,” Meazell said.
Those needing assistant who are at least 65 years of age can call 405-664-2858 and leave their name, address and phone number to receive an application in the mail.
For those under 65 and in need of temporary pet food assistance, the OKC Animal Welfare Division’s Pet Food Bank can be reached at 405-316-3663.
“Please donate for the cats and dogs of those we serve so they will not suffer this summer,” Meazell said.
To make a donation or to learn more about the Pet Food Pantry, visit www.petfoodpantryokc.org.