CARE to offer monthly pet food bank |

CARE to offer monthly pet food bank

Heidi Rice
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

It’s heartbreaking when a family has to give up a beloved pet because they can’t afford to feed it anymore.

But that scenario has unfortunately played out over and over again during these hard economic times.

In response, six girls – in conjunction with YouthEntity of Carbondale – researched and now plan to launch a pet food bank through Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE), starting in September.

“It means a lot to me knowing we can do something,” said Lily Meadows, 12, of Carbondale, one of six students involved in putting the pet food bank together. She is a sixth-grade student at the Waldorf School of the Roaring Fork.

The CARE Pet Food Bank is designed to operate much like LIFT-UP food banks, in which people donate food, which is then distributed to registered recipients.

“This food bank will distribute pet food once a month on Saturday in Rifle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale,” said Leslie Rockey, executive director of CARE in Glenwood Springs. “Eventually, we want to hit the Battlement Mesa/Parachute area, but for now they can always come up to Rifle.”

Rockey said connecting with the six girls active in YouthEntity’s after-school youth empowerment program turned an idea into reality.

YouthEntity’s goal is to help young people discover their potential by providing real-world educational experiences.

“We’ve been learning about banking and financing in school and we thought starting a pet food bank would be really cool,” said Meadows. “I love animals. I have five chickens, one horse, two dogs and a cat. We started from the ground up with nothing but an idea for a food bank. We’re really excited about it.”

Bill Lukes, a longtime volunteer with CARE and project coordinator for the food bank, was asked to coach the team of girls for a YouthEntity after-school program, which met every Wednesday after school for a couple of hours.

“It was kind of a two-pronged project,” Lukes said. “They studied business plans and logistics and it taught them life skills.”

Lukes and the girls did their research and made a presentation to the CARE board in mid-May.

And the CARE board liked it.

“The board decided that this was a program the community needed,” Rockey said. “Of course, we’re still trying to get all our ducks in a row.”

Lukes said he was motivated to take on the project to help reduce the number of animals that are being surrendered to the CARE facility by people who simply can’t afford to feed their pets anymore.

“It struck me that when life is dealing you a bad hand, the last thing you need is to lose your dog,” Lukes said.

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