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By CINDY SIMPSON
Roane County pet owners suffering financially will soon have a little help.
Second Chance K-9 Rescue members have decided to start a food pantry for pet food and are now collecting donations.
Ann Baker and her daughter, Madison, came up with the idea.
“A lot of people, on account of the economy ... have had to surrender their pet. We want to do something to keep them out of the shelter,” Baker said.
“I have had just recently people contact me, people wanting to surrender animals and needing help with food,” Baker said.
The food bank will first be housed at Rockwood First United Pentecostal Church at N. 821 Front Ave. It will be open the first and third Friday of each month, according to Baker. It will launch on Sept. 3. Hours will be 4 to 5 p.m.
To qualify, recipients must fill out an application at the facility, have some evidence of need, like proof of income or food stamps. Animal’s rabies vaccination information must be shown to prove ownership.
So far, the club has had some donations, including from Enrichment Federal Credit Union’s Dog Days Shelter Drive and private donations.
However, they are in need of much more, including cat, kitten, dog and puppy food.
They would like to set up boxes at area businesses to collect donations.
People can also donate by contacting Baker at 354-6689 and Ann DeBord at 376-2931.
Many of the club members, including Baker; her mother, Gladys Smith;and DeBord, volunteer around the community for different agencies and have seen first hand how much the need for assistance has grown for many of the everyday items.
“We have seen over the past couple years how much the need has grown. We know there is a lot of need out there. I figure we’ll be inundated with requests,” DeBord said.
All three have a love of animals and have been helping them long before joining Second Chance.
“Whenever she calls I’m ready,” Smith said of Baker, who has been rescuing animals for many years.
DeBord became involved with the organization after she and her husband found a stray in the neighborhood and were put in touch with Second Chance members.
Before that, they adopted their dog, Sally, from the American Brittany Rescue, their first encounter with a rescue group.
The organization also would appreciate donations to assist in its spay and neuter program.
They give needy people vouchers to take to the Planned Pethood facility on Hwy. 61 between Harriman and Oliver Springs.
They also assist with annual vaccinations.
Rabies shots must be paid for by the pet owner.
The club has other needs: foster homes for needy pets; for donations of pet food, money and even pet food coupons.
Baker said the orgination would accept heated water bowls, dog houses, dog runs, fences and folding pens.
The club will be having some upcoming fundraisers.
Those include Dawgs for the Dogs, a hot dog cookout at Kingston City Park on Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and booths at the Kingston Country Fair in October.