We have joined forces with the Redwood Gospel Mission. You might think that this is a strange partnership but it actually makes a lot of sense. For years we have run a pet food pantry for the homeless and those facing financial hardship. Bet you didn’t know that! And that’s a good thing. It means you’ve never been in that kind of need. It’s sad to know that there are many in our community where the basics of providing food for their pet is beyond their ability and they would face some difficult decisions if this pantry wasn’t available.
By moving the pet food pantry to the Redwood Gospel Mission we think these clients will be better serviced. The RGM offers a lot of additional services that are way beyond the scope of what the shelter could provide. In addition to the food pantry, the RGM runs a huge thrift store with clothing, furniture and household items. They also offer emergency shelters for those experiencing homelessness; mobile showers, transitional counseling to end homelessness and substance abuse recovery programs. You never know who may benefit from being connected with one of these programs in addition to just being handed a bag of pet food.
There’s something sad about having the same clients come in week after week for pet food. One wonders, and sometimes asks, about their pets and why they’re in the situation they are in. Some of our volunteers are on first name basis with a small number of our “regulars.” Which is sad in and of itself. I never felt that just handing a bag of kibble was enough. Either they are younger and healthy – which makes you think there must be a way to help them get out of the situation they are in – or they are older, unhealthy or mentally unstable in which case they need other services even more!
We will continue to accept donations of pet food – opened bags that finicky pets decided wasn’t right for them, leftover food from when someone lost a beloved pet, or just a generous donation. We always want to have some food on hand for when someone has an urgent need and doesn’t have a way to go to Santa Rosa for food that day. And we will share the overflow with the RGM to help maintain the pantry.
The Redwood Gospel Mission has several locations in this county. The Pet Food Pantry is part of their thrift store located at 1821 Piner Road and is open 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday- Saturday. That is another benefit of the collaboration – extended hours for the clients since our open hours are much more restricted. If you are a thrift store shopper/donor, you might want to go check this one out – it’s supposed to be huge!
Change is always hard and we’re hoping to make the transition as smooth as possible by keeping some pet food around to give out one last bag along with a flyer explaining the change and including a map to the new location. Strange bedfellows often make for unique and innovative programs and we certainly hope this is one of those cases!
Registration for our popular Kidz ‘n Critters summer camp program for students in 2nd-7th grades is now open. $125 per camper/$25 sibling discount for a one-week fun camp experience. Each session is M-F, 8:30-1 p.m. and includes a camp T-shirt.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.