You know that moment in the “16 items or less” line at the grocery store when you realize you have 17 things in your basket? I had that moment today.
In pre-GDAD days, I would have loaded up the express conveyor belt without a second thought. But, even though two of my items were destined for the food bank bin – two boxes of Kraft Dinner, and yes, I also got two for myself – I moved over to the regular lineup.
It could be my imagination, but I could swear I felt eyes peering over my shoulder counting my items … and probably wondering why I wasn’t in the express line….
I’ve only ever heard of a regular food bank, but today I read about a good-deeding nine-year-old who started a pet food bank and thought it was a great idea. So he’s my Everyday Hero for this week.
Meet Our 2010 Kind Kid of the Year
Florida 9-year-old honored for opening a pet food bank that helps families keep their pets through tough times
Excerpted from www.humanesociety.org
It started when Zach Wilson visited his local animal shelter with his Boy Scout troop to drop off supplies they had collected. The Boy Scouts met some of the animals there and learned about the important services the shelter provides to the community.
A few months later, when Zach’s family decided to adopt a dog, they knew that the animal shelter was the best place to look for a pet. He and his mom went back to the shelter, and Zach was shocked at what he saw: The shelter was overflowing with dogs and cats. Every cage was full.
Zach asked why there were so many more homeless pets and learned the sad truth: many people were forced to give up their pets because they could no longer afford to feed them. Zach didn’t think this was right, so he talked with his mom, Erica Wilson, about what he could do to help. They decided to open the Central Florida Animal Pantry.
Feeding pets, keeping families together
“Many people here in Florida have lost their jobs and can’t afford to feed their pets anymore,” 9-year-old Zach explains. “We feed pets so they can stay with their families instead of going to a shelter.”
Every Thursday, Erica Wilson and other volunteers open the pantry to distribute pet food to people who can’t afford to buy it. They get the food through food drives and fundraisers like dog washes, which, according to Zach, are his favorite way to raise money.
The pantry now feeds more than 300 animals each month, a number that has steadily been growing as word gets out about the pantry. In a typical week, they give out more than 2,000 pounds of pet food. Zach and his mom are even thinking about opening more pantries to keep up with the demand. “We’ve gone from working out of our garage to possibly having multiple locations,” says Zach’s proud mom. “We could probably open four more locations and still be busy!”
The pantry also helps with other pet care essentials that people often find difficult to afford. They provide pet supplies like collars and leashes and also help clients find low- or no-cost spay/neuter programs, veterinary care, and grooming. Zach is glad that the pantry is making a difference. “It makes me feel good to know all these pets are still with their families.”
For his outstanding efforts to help pets and their people, we’re happy to recognize Zach with the KIND Kid of the Year Award! Learn more about Zach at animalpantry.org.