The Pet Food Pantry is feeding grumbling stomachs of hungry cats and dogs throughout Tauranga.
Chloe Griffin launched the pet food bank in June this year. Each week she delivers hundreds of kilograms of food to more than 20 pet owners across Tauranga.
Paying for all the petrol out of her pocket, Chloe says she does it because owners shouldn’t have to toss-up between taking their pet to the vet and buying it food.
She is helping feed animals in a range of scenarios, including a dog with ten puppies.
The initiative began after she noticed a real need to help out financially struggling pet owners in the Bay.
A generous co-worker gave Chloe $300 to kick-start the project, and since then she has been relying on local pet food companies for regular donations.
Chloe says the majority of the owners who need support have been hit with unexpected bills and living expenses.
She is stoked community members are stepping out of their comfort zone and asking for help.
“Just because you’re having a rough week financially, that doesn’t make you a bad owner. To me, a bad owner is an unloved dog that spends its whole life chained up.
“Often when people are hit with lots of other expenses it’s the furry fella outside who misses out. We just want people to take the pet food and feed their pet.
“I am just glad people are putting their pride aside and reaching out for help before their pets are half emaciated.”
Chloe reckons there needs to be more education in Tauranga around desexing pets and feeding them nutritious food.
"People need to know that cheap pet food isn't nutritious, it isn't going to fill up your pet, and the key to preventing unplanned litters is to desex your dog.
"That's why you see so many roaming dogs around - a hungry and un-desexed dog is more enticed to go off and look for what it wants.
The Pet Food Pantry is in the process of becoming a registered charity and provides owners with food, kennels, pet beds, bowls, worming tabs, flea treatments and blankets.
"Having a pet is like having a kid - it relies on you round the clock. Every cat and dog should have a loving home with a warm bed and a belly full.”
Chloe says she is currently in need of anything pet related – particularly dry dog food and dog rolls that can be frozen.
For more information about initiative, visit: www.facebook.com/ThePetFoodPantry