State of the Pantry Address: A Year and a Half of Reflection:
One woman took a dream, developed a vision and with passion and conviction for a cause to keep companion pets at home created a Non-Profit. She had the forethought to see a pattern during her years of being part of a rescue. So in 2004, the Chester County Pet Food Pantry was borne under the 501 (c) 3 organization of 2 Moon Junction Animal House Project. This was such a brand new idea and was the very first organization of its kind in Pennsylvania. For 9 years, the Pet Food Pantry has been taking care of Chester County residents who are facing a financial crisis to feed and care for their companion pets and keep them out of shelters. Between September 2013 and finishing on December 31st 2014, we made some changes to the overall organization but not to the core Mission Statement and as a result, we have grown considerably.
In mid 2013, Nina Frangieh, Founder and President of the organization named myself as the new President and Guardian and over the next several months a new Board of Directors was put in place to oversee the directions of the Non Profit. However, in mid, 2014, the Board of Directors went through some additional changes to insure the continuation of the Mission Statement. It is our hope that in 2015 and moving forward, we will be able to add key individuals to the Board who can bring fresh ideas to insure the growth and sustainability of Animal House Project and our Mission Statement.
Our Non-Profit Name was officially shortened to “Animal House Project” with the permission of the Pennsylvania State of Corporations and the IRS, as we are a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Organization. The organization added more volunteers to enhance existing services and build new programs into the fabric of growth. Two of the newest initiatives is a Low Cost Vaccination Clinic in partnership with Dr. Larry Dieter for not only the Pantry Clients but also to the public in Chester, western Montgomery and Berks Counties. This Clinic takes place quarterly at our Pottstown location. The second initiative involves ur Relationship with The Spayed Club which grew from not only providing a low cost spay/neuter program but to offering a Mobile Transport from the Pottstown Location for both dogs and cats for families located in western Montgomery and Berks Counties.
Downingtown Borough and the Police Department opened their Back Parking lot for the Mobile Pet Food Pantry Location for remainder of 2013 and the majority of 2014; however, with winter coming in 2014 Barra Rossa Restaurant extended their welcome arms to insure the Clients and the volunteers stayed warm while helping Clients waiting for the distribution of their food.
Another change that occurred was the expansion of not only helping families in Chester County but also opening up western Montgomery and eastern Berks Counties. This became possible with the move from East Fallowfield Township to Pottstown. We grew from feeding 750 companion pets in mid-2013 to feeding over 3990 companion pets of all shapes and sizes (dogs; cats; ferrets; exotic birds; hamsters; fish; horses and donkeys) plus 1800 rescue pets per month in 2014.
We are so grateful to all of the Stores; Offices and Organizations that have allowed Chester County Pet Food Pantry Donation boxes to be placed. We cannot continue our Mission Statement without your help and support. Concord Pets in Frazer and Paoli (New); Pet Supplies Plus Stores in West Chester; Phoenixville and Wayne (New); Pet- Valu in Lionville and Gilbertsville (New); Pickering Valley Feed in Exton; Wagsworth Manor; Petco Store in Paoli (New) and Pottstown (New); Great Valley Pet Hotel; Karen’s K9 Cares; Linda’s Doggie Stylin Shop in Malvern (New); Lucie’s Barkingham Palace in Malvern (New); Affinity Veterinary Center of Malvern (New); Gilbertsville Fire Company (New); Ellie’s Choice in Phoenixville (New); Ludwig’s Veterinary Hospital in Ludwig’s Corner (New); Coventry Animal Hospital in Parkerford (New); Petsmart in Pottstown (New); Collegeville (New); and Downingtown (New); MLAR in Chester Springs; Fulton Bank in Exton (New); Dawg Day Afternoon in Glenmoore and French Creek Veterinary in Pottstown (New).
We became a Charitable Partner with DelMonte and Petco Foundation and were awarded a Petco Foundation WAFT Grant to purchase Food for the Pantry. The proceeds of the grant were used during critical times when the donation levels dropped but the number of animals needing help continued to grow.
Our various programs expanded to include Corporations adopting the Pantry and doing food drives that it would take another page to thank all of those involved; to private individuals who organized Birthday parties and Christmas parties and asked their friends to bring donations for the Pantry rather than gifts to School Districts who took an idea for a Pet Food Drive to a whole new level of participation.
According to one of the No Kill Shelters that we help, before Animal House Project became involved in supplying food, they were able to save 305 animals but with the help of Animal House Project and our Pet Food Pantry program, in 2014, 347 animals were saved and are now enjoying life in their forever homes.
The families that we are helping are comprised of senior citizens living on a fixed income; unemployed families; Military Veterans living on a fixed income as well as personnel returning from service with medical issues unable to return to the workforce but need their companion pets for support; single mothers who are teaching their children responsible companion pet responsibilities.
So how well did the Pantry help the Communities in 2018? The final count of dry food that was donated cleared 261,000 lbs dry and 61,000 cans of wet food!!! We also helped grass root rescues with 425,000 lbs of food!
I am excited for 2020 and would like suggestions from everyone as to how we can improve. Below is a list of what we need as an organization to focus on for this year:
Empowering Volunteers into key Committees and Positions
Attendance at More Community Events
Application of Proposals for Grants to help Fund our Services
Strategic Partnerships with Pet Food Manufacturers and Distributors
Press Releases and Marketing; New Website; Publicity of the Organization
A Signature Yearly Event to Raise Money/ More Fundraising Events in General that Benefit AHP
Getting the Word out Regarding the Low Cost Vaccination Clinic
Selling items on Ebay and Amazon.com for our No Flea/Tick Program
Partnerships with other Rescues and Non-Profit Organizations
Building our Continued Relationship The Spayed Club and our Spay/Neuter Program
Building the Relationship with Wounded Warriors – Keystone Chapter and working with the VA Hospital in Coatesville, PA
Getting the word out regarding our Youth Opportunities/Finding More Corporations to have Food Drives
It takes all of Us: our Board of Directors; Team of Volunteers; Corporations; the Media and Donors to tackle all of the objectives that we would like to undertake for Animal House Project in 2015 and Beyond. I empower everyone to offer ideas; suggestions; and time even if it is the smallest amount of effort to continue to build on the strong foundation of Animal House Project.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Thank you for a wonderful 2018 Year and
Here is to a Prosperous 2020 for all off those that we help!!
MaryBeth Yannessa, President
Mission Statement: Animal House Project (d/b/a Chester County Pet Food Pantry) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization on a mission to help companion pets stay at home and out of animal shelters by providing donated pet food and pet care services to pet families in financial need in Berks, Chester, and western Montgomery counties.
At times, we are the last option for families to keep their companion pets at home.