Swartz Creek couple gives back to community through pet food pantry
SWARTZ CREEK, MI — Thinking of ways to pay forward the same kindness they’ve been shown by strangers, Kim and Tom Farrell have started a pet pantry to help families in financial straits feed their furry best friends.
Located within Tom Farrell’s office at the Crown Real Estate Group in the Carriage Plaza on Miller Road in Swartz Creek, the couple opened the pet pantry just over a month ago.
“I know a lot of people who are going through financial difficulties and sometimes they have to give up their pets because they end up not being able to afford them,” Kim Farrell said. “We just thought maybe this would be a way to help people not have to make hard decisions about their pets. We just wanted to help someone else and this is what we thought of.”
The idea behind the pet pantry came from the couple wanting to give back to the community who helped them through their own struggles.
The couple has faced financial troubles in the past, and with their beloved mini schnauzer having suffered a spinal stroke and adding to their troubles, the pair weren’t sure how they were going to pay for the medical bills.
Luckily for them, the community stepped in to help them resolve their conflicts.
At 13 years old, their mini schnauzer is doing better than expected.
He’s had his gull bladder removed, had a toe amputated due to cancer, pancreatitis, and had a mass on his side removed, he’s one tough dog, Kim Farrell said.
Wanting to give back, Kim Farrell and her husband first thought about starting a small pet rescue, but after consulting on the matter, they realized that it would take too much time and effort to run it.
Kim Farrell then reached out to the Swartz Creek Community page on Facebook, throwing out the idea of the pet food pantry.
To her surprise, the responses to her idea were overwhelming.
“The community’s been wonderful,” she said. “At first I thought it was going to be a small little thing where I would go out and deliver it, but the donations just kept pouring in and we had to have somewhere to put it, so we put it in my husband’s real estate office in town.”
Kim Farrell explained that within the first month of the pet pantry being opened, they’ve been able to help about 14 families that have been going through some financial difficulties with their pets.
She has had messages sent to her from people they’ve helped out, with one couple thanking her and explaining that if it weren’t for her efforts, they wouldn’t have known how to get their dog food and their pet fed.
Kim Farrell added that those reactions have made her feel good about what she’s doing for her community.
“I’ve had people come in in tears, and some people have told me their stories of how they’ve struggled and having to give up their pets,” she said.
The pet pantry receives donations nearly every day. Kim Farrell said that they accept dog food, cat food, canned and dry, treats, goldfish food, and she’s even been asked if bird food and bunny food can be donated.
People can also donate pet bowls, cat litter, pee pads for dogs, leashes, food for small pets, and other pet accessories.
Farrell has also recently set-up an Amazon wish-list that’s been connected to the pet pantry’s Facebook page which lists products in need to keep the shelves stocked.
Farrell and her husband hope that maybe they will come to a point where they could also help people out with their veterinary bills, but for now, they’re satisfied with just helping people feed their pets.
“I hope it would branch off into helping people with their vet bills that maybe can’t afford them because that’s what people have done for me, and it’s been a great help,” Farrell said.
The pantry is open from Monday thru Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people to pick up food for their pets, or for people to drop off donations.
If you’d like to find out more about the pet pantry, visit their Facebook page here.
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