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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Moose's Meals, Pet Food Pantry and More

Nov 16, 2020 07:16PM ● By Kimberly Horg

Food for Furry Friends

October/November 2020
Story by Kimberly Horg

When Sarah DeJohn moved from Seattle to Visalia in 2016, she noticed a lot of stray animals. More and more people were finding pets in abandoned orchards and ranches and shelters were overwhelmed with animals. When COVID-19 hit the world in March, her fiancé Matt Vinet was laid off and the couple found spare time on their hands. That is when a light bulb turned on.
 “I have always been an animal lover and wanted to do something to help,” she said. “I saw the other wonderful food pantries doing food distributions and I wondered if there was something like a human food pantry but for pets,” she says.
 She saw a need for supportive pet care services. Strays and surrenders at the rescues far outnumber the number of people who are looking to adopt a shelter pet, so shelters ship pets out to larger cities where there are more people wanting to adopt. “We hope our service will help people be able to keep their pet rather than have to make that difficult decision to give them up,” she said. Many people have told DeJohn about how  her service has helped, and those who use the pantry give back by volunteering at our distributions. 
 DeJohn initially conducted  research about pet food pantries. The Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry and Halo Cafe (Fresno’s pet food pantry) were a big help to her, giving tips on how to get started and run a pet pantry. “They provided us invaluable advice to all of our questions and we still consult with them whenever we need guidance,” DeJohn said.
 When somebody wants food for their pet, they are required to fill out an application to provide proof of need (such as Medi-Cal or EBT card). Applications are good for a year and people can pick up food at monthly distributions at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. In addition, Moose’s Meals passes out dog food to homeless pets at the St. John’s River in Visalia. It also provides resources to local low cost spay/neuter programs and vaccine programs. 
 Almost all of the pet food passed out is from donations from members of the community. “We are definitely in need of dry dog food the most. Of the 2,194 pounds of food we passed out last month, 1,660 of it was dog food,” she said. People can visit www.moosesmeals.org to find its Amazon wish list to drop off food or have them pick up food. Moose’s Meals also has a PayPal option for money donations. There is a donation barrel at the Hanford Tractor Supply. •

Moose’s Meals • www.moosesmeals.org 
(206) 643-9520
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