Ranger’s Pantry pet food bank now open

In today’s tough economy, more and more people are starting to cut corners. And while it may seem like a drastic decision to even consider, some people have recently been forced to surrender their pets to an animal shelter due to financial constraints. Specifically, pet food is becoming difficult to afford for some families.

This is a problem Fayetteville Community Services Director Yolanda Fields noticed recently and set out to find a solution for. “I started seeing animals that were brought in because people simply couldn’t afford to feed them any longer,” said Fields. After hearing about a pet food donation program for pet owners in Arizona, Fields decided a local food bank was the way to go.

After two months of food collections and lots of studying, Fields’ division launched the Ranger’s Pantry Food Bank in early May.

Named after the city’s community services mascot, Ranger, the program has already seen success in both donations of food and money, and eight people have already coming forward seeking help to feed their pets.

Volunteers recently sat up a table outside Sam’s Club one afternoon and asked customers to purchase extra pet food while doing their normal shopping. People then dropped the food off on their way to the parking lot.

“That first on-site drive brought in 166 pounds of food and about $85 in donated money,” said Fields, adding that she hopes to help organize many more of these drives in other locations. “We’ll go to whoever will let us sit in front of their space,” she said.

How to donate

Anyone wishing to offer pet food or money to Ranger’s Pantry can make a donation at any Fayetteville fire station or at the Community Services Division at 125 West Mountain St.

» See a list of Fayetteville fire stations

Offer a location for an on-site food drive

If you work at a local business that sells pet food, consider talking to your store manager to see if they’ll allow Ranger’s Pantry to set up outside one afternoon. If they’re cool with it, give Yolanda a call at 575-8260.

How to receive help

If you or someone you know is struggling to make ends meet and is having trouble affording pet food, call the Community Services Division at 479-575-8260. Three-month food vouchers are available and can be used all at once or only as needed for a 12-month period.

» See a map to the Fayetteville Community Services office