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Food for Furry Companions: Devon Employees deliver pet food to low-income seniors, veterans and the homeless

For animal lovers Jillian Robles and Rachel Lowe, volunteering at The Pet Food Pantry of Oklahoma City was a no-brainer.

Robles, Business Continuity supervisor, was searching online for places to volunteer that assisted either seniors or pets, and the pantry popped up.

“I love seniors and I love pets, and the Pet Food Pantry perfectly blends those two together,” Robles said.

Lowe, a revenue accountant, discovered the organization while passing its booth at a pet event in Oklahoma City’s Ross Park last spring.

“It feels good to contribute to this cause because it helps low-income pet owners feed their animals,” Lowe said.

The Pet Pantry currently serves Oklahoma City and parts of Edmond, Yukon and Mustang. There are about 150 monthly clients plus homeless, and about 375 pets that receive assistance. Additionally, more than 4,450 pounds of food are delivered each month.

Its mission is to reduce hunger in pets and the people who love them by providing pet food and services to low-income pet owners. As a result, pet owners are able to keep their people food for themselves.

In addition to providing pet food, the pantry distributes pet beds, medicine, bowls, toys and collars as needed. Funds are also reserved to help pay for spaying, neutering and other veterinarian expenses.

Robles has volunteered with the Pet Pantry for three years; Lowe for nearly a year. Both have said the experience has been nothing but positive.

At first, Lowe was apprehensive to volunteer because she didn’t know what to expect. However, as time passed, she developed friendships with her clients and now looks forward to seeing them.

“The Pet Pantry is very organized and not overly time consuming,” Lowe said. “Volunteers deliver food on the third Saturday each month and have about three to five people on their route. This gives us time to visit with each person and become familiar with their pets and needs,” she said.

Robles recalls a moment in 2013 when she heard of a client who was living alone in an unfinished home without a heating or air system or furnishings.

“I reached out to Community Relations Director Wendi Schuur, who was able to contact a United Way representative, who then coordinated efforts to finish and furnish the lady’s home. Thanks to Devon’s community ties and ‘do the right thing’ attitude, this woman now has a safe place to live,” she said.