by Sunny Weber, President
Costs of living in our state have skyrocketed since I grew up. Shortly after my parents relocated from Ohio in 1954, relatives ridiculed my father’s goals and could not believe that he wanted to raise his family “in that cow town.” The entire state population was 611,000 people.
Fast forward from 1954 to 2022—the state’s human population was 5,773,714 by 2020, with nine counties having a population in excess of 250,000 each. The ten most populous Colorado counties are located in the Front Range Urban Corridor. The cost of living in Colorado is 5% higher than the national average, and housing is 17% higher than the national average. Colorado households that own pets total 47.2%.
Through myriad financial ups and downs over the decades, Colorado residents have only grown in their love of pets. However, when the economy gyrates in negative directions, many pet owners are left with uncertain abilities to care for their nonhuman family members. In 2013 Eileen Lambert founded the Colorado Pet Pantry (CPP–https://www.coloradopetpantry.org/). The organization’s mission is to, “temporarily feed Colorado pets, allowing families to increase their ability to care for pets with the goal of keeping them out of shelters and with their families.”
The first year CPP obtained a Colorado nonprofit designation, gathered volunteers, established relationships with pet food distributors and retailers, then distributed 10,499 lbs. of pet food to 426 families in the Denver-metro area, feeding 858 pets. In 2020, CPP helped families-in-need feed 5.1 million meals (943,807 lbs), which equates to feeding 85,901 pets for a full month throughout the Eastern Slope of Colorado. CPP is now statewide, with an expansion to the Western Slope.
CPP partners with human food banks to distribute pet food one day per month. Human food bank personnel vet recipients and CPP utilizes a custom-made data base, tracking numbers of recipients, pet profiles, and where they live. CPP has developed an efficient, state-of-the art organization that proves to be a gigantic benefit to those who need pet food assistance in Colorado.
The main warehouse is in Englewood and distribution days are regularly scheduled throughout the state so clients can rely on consistent help. CPP has also established 75 “mini banks”, where they supply pet food to organizations who need it, but are not in charge of distribution. CPP partners with over 100 state shelters and rescues through the Animal Welfare Share Program. Through this organization, needed supplies are provided, surplus supplies are picked up and taken to where they are needed. Private donation drop off sites are in cooperation with local pet food supply stores so donors can choose to leave supplies and food close to their homes where CPP will pick up.
CPP has joined forces with Spay Today in Lakewood (https://spay.today/), The Street Dog Coalition in Fort Collins (https://www.thestreetdogcoalition.org/), and Bergen Spay and Neuter Alliance, in Southern Colorado (https://bergenspayandneuter.org/) to address the source of pet overpopulation and thereby lower the needs of hungry homeless animals throughout the state.
CPP also responds with emergency pet food assistance. When the Covid Pandemic hit the Colorado economy, Eileen Lambert, the Executive Director for Colorado Pet Pantry said, “With so many people living paycheck to paycheck (78% of Americans), it’s understandable, and we were prepared.”
The recent Marshall fires created huge demand for help—not only with food, but beds, leashes, toys, and all the things fire victims lost in their destroyed homes. CPP stepped up and continues to deliver whatever is needed to the Resource Distribution Center at Boulder’s Flatirons Mall.
See Eileen explain The LINK between animal abuse, escalation to violence against people and the importance of developing empathy and social connectedness through relationships with pets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU6Y4zkqRxY
Colorado Animal Protectors is proud to call Colorado Pet Pantry our partner and friend!