Central Mass Kibble Kitchen:
Helping Feed Fido during Hard Times
By Dorrie Maynard
“Who feeds a hungry animal, feeds his own soul.”
– Charlie Chaplin
Many families in Central Massachusetts are struggling to maintain a stable household, be it due to a tough economy, domestic abuse, health conditions, substance addiction, or other unplanned life circumstances. The pets of these families are often on the short end of the sacrifices these families must make; stressing an already strained shelter system, and leaving an emotional hole in a family in need of stability. Other families opt to keep their pets, living with them in their cars or tents, or perhaps camping out on a friend’s sofa, while they struggle to find permanent housing.
Seeing this problem and no available solutions, Kim O’Konis established the Central Mass Kibble Kitchen in January of 2015.
“No one should have to make the decision to turn their pet over to a shelter because of temporary hardship. These are the times families need the comfort of a pet the most. My goal was to help take the burden from the families and keep pets in their homes,” she says.
In just less than two years, with the help of donations from individuals and pet supply companies, CMKK has distributed more than 400,000 pounds of pet food through live site distributions, home deliveries and food pantry deliveries! The organization has also been able to supply donated collars, leashes, coats, litter, and other supplies to hundreds of families and their pets. Through partnerships with local veterinary organizations, hundreds more pets have been spayed, neutered, or received life-saving medical treatment at reduced or no cost to owners.
Still more pets have been helped with temporary fostering while their owners sought addiction treatment, were hospitalized, or dealt with homelessness.
Operating out of the basement of her home, O’Konis then expanded her operation into a rented space attached to the Worcester Animal Rescue League. A small army of volunteers has formed to help transport, bag, and distribute food and supplies. Despite the network of organizations and volunteer support, she still personally distributes food and supplies from her van each week at the Mustard Seed and St John’s soup kitchens each week. “It’s all about building relationships. My clients trust me and know that I too care about their pet(s), that they can depend on me to be there every week, always offering pet food and sometimes a shoulder to lean on. Having personal contact with families and their pets means everything to me. It motivates me to continue doing everything I can to help them and their pets stay together,” she says.
As word of the Central Mass Kibble Kitchen’s has spread through the local community and with the cold weather, demand has grown.
Kibble Kitchen needs:
canned cat and dog food
dry cat food
Donations can be dropped off at at 139 Holden Street – the Worcester Animal Rescue League. In the3rd garage bay.
Arrangements for pickup of large donations can be made by calling 978-496-9364.
Monetary donations are extremely helpful, and can be made securely via Youcaring.com.
More information is at centralmakibblekitchen.org, or on their Facebook page.
CMKK is 501-c3 organization, so all donations are tax deductible.