November 21, 2008 The Berkshire Humane Society is leading an effort to coordinate Pet-Food supplies for needy families this winter season. BHS is working with Animal Friends of Northern Berkshire to build up a supply of dry and canned, cat and dog food at designated drop off and pickup sites in Adams, N. Adams and Dalton. The Berkshire Visitors Bureau, at Hoosick St. in Adams will take donations of new bags and cans of pet-food. Roy Thompson, of Adams, has arranged for Dog Days Café to be both a drop-off and pickup site for those in need of food for their cats and dogs. In North Adams, The Silvio O. Conte Middle School Youth Council conducted a food drive for pets and humans, with the North Berkshire Community Action Council distributing that food to both pets and people. In Dalton, The Dalton United Methodist Church on Main Street is the site for both drop off and pick up of pet food.
John Perreault, Executive Director of The Berkshire Humane Society, heralds the effort by these groups of concerned Animal Friends of North Berkshire to help their neighbors during these very difficult economic times. “If we can prevent a family from having to surrender a pet, who is a member of their family, because they can’t afford to feed them, then we will give them that food to keep our kennel open for anther animal that has to be surrendered,” he said. “We’ve noticed an increase in the number of people coming to the shelter on Barker Road for pet-food for the past year, and in anticipation of even more difficult times to come this winter, we decided to expand the drop-off & pickup sites to areas that are more easily accessible to county residents,” added Perreault. By arranging for more locations throughout Berkshire County, BHS will be able to help those who truly need the food to receive it even faster.
“The important thing now is to get the message out the public that our pet food pantries are bare and we need help to stock them”, reported Karen Karlberg, Community Outreach Coordinator at BHS. “I have been getting calls from local school groups and youth organizations to see what they can do to help the animals at BHS”, she added. I tell them to have a pet food drive, and I help them kick-off the drive with a presentation at school or anything else they need for support from the staff at BHS. For example, the Conte Youth Group in N. Adams organized a pet food drive and I was on hand to help them make posters and support their efforts. The Adams Cheshire Savoy Youth Coalition is planning a fund raiser for the shelter in the future and also many Girl Scout troops are arranging pet-food drives and donations of items from the shelter wish list. Our mission is to provide free Humane Education programs to area schools which include encouraging children to help their neighbor’s pets as part of being a responsible pet owner. Kids love animals and want to help them anyway they can so they are always willing to organize food drives and collections for the Berkshire Humane Society. “The pet food drive is an amazing way of showing how much you care about animals and their owners in Berkshire County”. She added.
South County has also been coordinating a pet food drive with Irie’s Pet Pantry and has added to the list of drop off sites: The Berkshire Co-Op, Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Chez Pet Wild Birds Country Store, VCA All Caring Animal Hospital, Legacy Bank in the Big Y Plaza, in Gt. Barrington, The First Congregational Church in Lee, Terranova’s Market in Otis, BenDotter’s Pets in Sheffield, St. Joseph Church in Stockbridge, Lenox Town Hall, and the West Stockbridge Post Office. The pickup of pet food in South County is arranged through social agencies including: Sheffield Food Pantry, Community Heath Programs, Gt Barrington, BCAC Gt. Barrington, and Elder Services.
The Berkshire Humane Society Staff asks that you bring new bags of dry food only or canned to the shelter on Barker Road or to any of the noted drop off locations. They are not able to handle re-sealed open bags of food. A 30 day supply of pet food is given to anyone who asks for it, proving we have the food on hand. They are only asked to sign a log to keep track of how much food is dispensed per month. Nothing else is required to obtain the food free of charge. The designated pick-up sites may have similar requirements. For more information about donating pet food or the other drop off and pick-up locations in the county please call 413-447-7878.