Local/State

Pet food pantry helps families keep pets

Friday, December 30, 2011

More families than ever are struggling to put food on the table these days, and they are also struggling to feed the 4-legged members of their household.

Some of them are getting a helping hand from a new food pantry.

It is piled high on the couches and chairs and under the furniture; bags and boxes of pet food practically fill the living room of Lisa and Jonathan Iszard of Ewing.

Mindful that these tough economic times have left so many animal lovers without a job or paycheck, the Iszards decided to help by starting a food pantry for pets.

"Alot of people can't afford to feed themselves, let alone a pet, and we don't want them to get rid of their animals," said Lisa Iszard.

"The ASPCA said that 80% of all dogs in shelters are because people can't afford the food or vet treatment. It just breaks my heart when I see people at the shelter having to give away their dog for something so trivial as dog food," said Jonathan Iszard.

Since starting the pet food pantry a year ago, the Iszards have given away almost a ton of cat and dog food to people who need it.

"Anyone who's fallen on tough times, they may be unemployed, collecting social security, disability; we even help some cancer patients out of work," said Lisa.

"Get a loaf of bread, mix it in with a little bit of dog food, and that's what they got," said Sally Watson.

That's what Sally Watson of Ewing used to do to feed her 5 dogs and 3 cats, some of whom she's had for as long as 19 years.

Currently unemployed with a husband on disability, there was no extra money to buy pet food and Sally didn't want to get rid of her animals. She heard about the pantry and asked for help.

"It just saved them, I think. It just saved them all. I was worried, I was getting concerned," Sally said.

The Iszard's own a natural pet treat company and have always supported local animal shelters. But now that they've started the pantry, they're donating 10% of the company profits to keep the shelves stocked.

Applications are taken online, and the pantry runs completely on donations of food and money.

It's clear the Iszards are serious about what they're doing.

"We got married in June. We took our wedding gifts and put it into the pet food pantry. We never went on a honeymoon," said Jonathan.

Even in tough times, Lisa and Jonathan want everyone's family pet to be as well-fed and happy as their Jack Russell terrier "Murphy".

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