WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry held its first pickup day at its new location at the Ridgeview Congregational Church in White Plains over the weekend, said Susan Katz, founder of the group.
Over the last week, Katz and her 35 volunteers moved the pantry from its first location in the American Legion hall in Valhalla to Ridgeview Congregational Church on 12 Ridgeview Ave. When the lifelong White Plains resident founded the organization in 2010, she said it had 10-12 clients. Today, it serves about 165 families in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess County, requiring a larger space.
“In 18 months, it was like, ‘Oh my God’; it went from little to really big,” said Katz, who added that the 400-square-foot space within the church is more than double the size of the previous location. “The more we can get the word out that this service is available the more people and animals we can help; because that’s the way we look at it, that we’re helping people and animals,” Katz said.
Julie Fraitag became a client in June 2011 after losing her job. While struggling to pay her bills and feed her pet havense, Sadie Briscet, she found out about the pet food pantry.
“It’s bittersweet because there’s a lot of hurting people out there, and you just don’t realize how much people are living hand to mouth,” Katz said. “They tell you that, ‘I will not give up my pet, even if it means me going with less.’ We’re trying to help out in that way; hopefully we are. I think we are.”
Fraitag was pleased to find the pantry supplies food the pet is accustomed to. Applicants provide a list of the foods their pet eats, which volunteers use at food drives. The pantry also fills prescription food requirements for special needs animals, Katz said.
A year after becoming a client, Fraitag found a new job and now volunteers with the pantry at food drives.
“The most rewarding thing was me going out and doing food drives because, not only was I helping the pantry that helped me, I was helping them help people like me,” Fraitag said.
In addition to Ridgeview Congregational Church, the Thomas H. Slater Center on 2 Fisher Court is another pickup location for the pantry. It also does home deliveries for those who are homebound.
To donate to the 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization or to become a member, call 914-907-3487.