2018-03-14 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

“Hunger strikes every member of the family.” That’s why Long Island Cares, Inc. The Harry Chapin Food Bank launched Baxter’s Pet Pantry in 2009. Since then, Long Island Cares has provided 1.3 million pounds of pet food so Nassau and Suffolk owners facing hard times are able to nourish their beloved pets.

Baxter’s Pet Pantry: Two realizations prompted the need for a LI pet food pantry. Long Cares volunteers learned some recipients of donations were going without themselves so they could serve the food they received to their pets. Also 2009 media coverage revealed many needy families were putting their pets up for adoption as a result of not being able to afford pet food, veterinary care and/or other services.

Baxter’s Pet Pantry operated by Long Island Cares, Inc. – The Harry Chapin Food Bank, was developed in partnership with the Animal Relief Fund Inc. (ARF) a NYC advocacy group striving to keep pets with their families and reduce the number of abandoned dogs and cats. ARF accomplishes this by distributing pet food to local food pantries which serve New York families in need. Baxter’s Pet Pantry was named for the late Pug that belonged to the Long Island Cares CEO at the time.

Pat the volunteer and Prissy the Poodle want you to know Last Hope is collecting pet food for Baxter’s Pet Pantry at Long Island Cares. Pat the volunteer and Prissy the Poodle want you to know Last Hope is collecting pet food for Baxter’s Pet Pantry at Long Island Cares. Currently, Baxter’s Pet Pantry offers toys, pet clothes, feeding bowls, cat litter and other pet supplies. Free pet food is available to pet owners through many of Long Island Cares local member agency food pantries, including four regional locations - their Hauppauge headquarters, Nassau Service Center in Freeport, South Shore Service Center in Lindenhurst (on Wellwood Ave. near the Black Forest Bakery) and Humanitarian Center in Huntington Station.

“Meow, Meow means I love you” was written on a thank you note received from J.S. of Lindenhurst who contacted Long Island Cares Pet Pantry, desperately in need of cat food and litter for her cats. Living alone, J.S.’s cats provide her with the companionship and love needed for her continued independence. At her request a special mobile delivery was made with an abundance of pet food, supplies and other referrals for her to care for her furry family members in need.

Long Island Cares Pet seeks Baxter’s Pet Pantry donations all year. However, February 1st through April 30th is the annual collection when outside agencies and LI government offices become additional drop-off locations. Many county legislators, state senators and assembly reps offer their offices as drop-off spots during the special collection. Town of Oyster Bay Animal Shelter in Syosset is a drop-off spot.

Last Hope Collecting for Baxter’s Pet Pantry: Last Hope Animal Rescue at 3300 Beltagh Avenue in Wantagh (across the street from Wantagh HS) is an official drop-off location too. We are collecting new, unopened dog & cat food- dry & canned, pet treats (made in USA) and cat litter. Please no rawhides, treats made in China or opened /expired bags.

Year round, Long Island Cares, Inc. has corporate partners at PETCO and Pet Supplies Plus, Target, and Walmart which give monthly donations of pet food and toys to Baxter’s Pet Pantry. You can support Baxter’s Pet Pantry by visiting any PETCO store on LI to purchase a dog or cat pet gift bag, or any pet food, which are all donated to Long Island Cares.

About Long Island Cares, Inc.: Founded in 1980 by the late singer, songwriter and social activist, Harry Chapin, Long Island Cares provides nutritional food and support services for a network of more than 540 community-based member agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, child care programs, disability organizations, veterans services and more. While the annual distribution of nearly 6 million pounds of nutritional food warehoused in their 27,000 square foot Hauppauge Distribution Center is at the heart of operations, Long Island Cares is more than just a food bank.

Long Island Cares provides a broad array of programs and services including hunger education, job training, supplemental food programs for children, school supplies, job development, legislative advocacy, and a triage food pantry. Think about becoming a volunteer. Visit www.licares.org.

Memories of Harry Chapin: Most Long Islanders know we lost a tremendous humanitarian in July 1981 when Harry Chapin died in a car accident on the LIE at the age of 38. He planned to do a free concert at Eisenhower Park that night. I was getting ready to go and was putting lawn chairs in the car when my friend called with the terrible news.

Chapin was deeply committed to fighting hunger and around the world. In 1975, he co-founded World Hunger Year (renamed to WhyHunger); along with friend and popular radio host Bill Ayres, a former Catholic priest.

I taught in Deer Park in the early

1970s. I vaguely remember the details, but a lot of money had been stolen by someone who fled to Greece. Harry Chapin agreed to do a free concert at the high school to help school programs. He was late because he was returning from a free concert upstate for another cause. We walked outside and his band members were playing basketball while waiting for him. They seemed accustomed to his late arrivals.

Lo and behold, soon after Harry Chapin came barreling around the corner of the parking lot in a beat up car, and the concert went on in a matter of moments. This magnanimous moment was a precursor of the tragedy to come. It seems this great man was always rushing from one of his benefits to another.

For Adoption at Babylon Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Petey” #18-94 is a cute four year old Jack Russell Terrier, and “Rosie O’Calico” # 8-36 is getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day in hopes someone notices her.

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