After visiting a local pet shelter, nine-year-old Zach Wilson was upset by the alarming number of abandoned and unwanted dogs waiting around to be adopted. He immediately knew he wanted to help, and decided to open his own pet pantry with support from his mother, Erica.
“The reason I did it was I saw how many dogs were given up, so I decided to feed the dogs and cats that could not be fed from the economy,” Zach says.
The Animal Pantry of Central Florida opened in April 2009. The organization provides food, treats, liter, toys, bowls, leashes and pet supplies for households with low income, the elderly, the disabled— anyone struggling to take care of their pet financially. The pantry provides supplies about six times per year, for up to six pets per household.
Erica, Zach’s mother and the executive director and founder of the pantry, claims the service provides much needed help to the four-legged members of these families. “This brings out awareness that there is more affected by unemployment than just human beings,” she says.
In May, Tails Magazine cover girl and major television host and comedian Ellen Degenres, did an interview with a central Florida shelter that is a supporter of The Animal Pantry.
During the interview Ellen learned about Zach and his desire to help animals and was so moved by his compassion that she decided to donate 5,000 meals to the pantry. “It was a big help,” Erica says. “It was very unexpected.”
Zach continues to help animals in need. Recently, after receiving an e-mail about a three-legged dog up for adoption, Zach was inspired to open an animal sanctuary. This will be a place of rehabilitation for animals that are elderly or disabled.
The pantry is run solely by volunteers, and relies on donations from the community. Currently, there is a need for both dry and wet dog and cat food, cat liter, dog and cat collars (all sizes), and dog and cat treats or toys.
Written By: Nicole Soszynski, Tails Magazine Intern
Tagged Pet Food Pantry