New pet pantry needs online support to get grant

TAYLOR — Shadow’s Pet Pantry, which provides dog food and cat food at no cost to pets of needy families, needs the public’s support.

The Taylor-based charity is in the running for a $25,000 grant in the Pepsi Refresh program, but needs lots of online votes from Internet users to get selected.

Resident Lois Nemeth originated Shadow’s Pet Pantry in March and operates Heritage Bark in Heritage Park. Shadow’s is one of 1,148 ideas under consideration for a grant in the nationwide Pepsi program. As of this week Shadow’s Pet Pantry is ranked 24th. Only the top 10 vote-getters will receive $25,000 grants.

Shadow’s Pet Pantry is named for Nemeth’s dog, Shadow, which died in December. Nemeth works with the clients of the Fish and Loaves Community Food Pantry, also based in the city. The pantry provides food to needy people in Taylor and five surrounding communities.

As a service, Nemeth talks to Fish and Loaves clients and provides pet food so people can afford to keep a beloved family dog or cat.

The mission statement of Shadow’s Pet Pantry is: “You don’t have to face this journey alone. At Shadow’s Pet Pantry, it is our mission to provide the highest standard of compassion. We are a nonprofit company that offers food to dogs and cats of loving families in need. From our pantry to yours. Together caring for the ones we love.”

Since Nemeth started the program, Shadow’s has provided pet food to more than 150 needy families, often relying on donations. Winning a Pepsi Refresh grant would allow Nemeth to extend her charitable reach, providing more food to more family pets.

Nemeth has operated Heritage Bark since April 2005. The store is a gourmet dog treats bakery that also has an array of dog collars, leashes and candles. Heritage Bark is known for its low prices, Nemeth says, with treats starting at 25 cents. She said that if a child came into her store and only had a quarter, the youth could purchase a treat for a pet.

There are a couple of ways to vote for Shadow’s Pet Pantry. The easiest way is to go to the site directly and vote: Registration takes less than a minute and those who sign up can vote every day, and even vote under more than one e-mail address.

People also can vote from their mobile phone. Text 101305 to Pepsi (73774). Standard text messaging rates apply.

The top 100 finishers at the end of the month roll over to the next month. Those that finish lower than 100th place must reapply. The PAWS Animal Shelter in Wyandotte recently received a $50,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh program by finishing in the top 10.

For more information about Shadow’s Pet Pantry, contact Heritage Bark at (734) 374-BARK.