Tag Archives: dog food

Central Mass Kibble Kitchen – always in style!


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.

Kim, CMKK’s fearless leader! photos by Dorrie Maynard

“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.

Food for your babies can be picked up at the MUSTARD SEED, in Piedmont.

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.

Cherish your pets!

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.


Don’t force food fads on pets: Five things people should know

Rosalie’s Lilac out and about in Worcester yesterday – having so much crazy, exuberant puppy-fun! Unlike Jett, Lilac off lead stays pretty close by – she won’t run off to … Canada!!, like Jett would if he were off his leash. Which is why he’s usually on a lead when we’re outdoors in open space. Huskies are notorious roamers! They love to be foot loose and fancy free! (pic – R.T.)

It seems like we hear about a new diet every week that promises to help us lose weight, increase energy and promote better health.

But foisting the latest diet trends on pets can have serious consequences for their well-being, said Dr. Susan Wynn, a BluePearl Veterinary Partners  clinician who, after completing a residency in veterinary nutrition, devotes her practice to nutritional counseling and holistic medicine.

While humans may experiment with different fads – low-carb, gluten-free, paleo or  raw – changing your pet’s diet shouldn’t be done lightly. And there are a number of misconceptions surrounding the subject of pet nutrition these days, Wynn said.

Here are five of her recommendations:

Many people have been led to believe that “grain-free” food is better for pets and may help reduce allergies. But Wynn said she’s seen more pets who are allergic to meat than grain. “In healthy dogs, there’s no reason to avoid grains,” she said.

The idea of a “paleo” or low-carb diet for pets comes from the mistaken belief that dogs are carnivores and, because they evolved from wolves, are intended to eat an all-meat diet. But dogs are actually omnivores, Wynn said. And evolution’s original plan for dogs and wolves  – to reproduce frequently and live short lives – is actually the opposite of what we now want for our pets, she added.

For many of the same reasons,  some pet owners tout the benefits of a raw food diet. But according to the Pet Nutrition Alliance, studies have shown that homemade raw food diets can be unsafe because they may expose pets to dangerous bacteria and have the potential to cause serious illness.

Wary of the many recalls and health scares associated with commercial food, some people have started their making their own pet food. Wynn said a homemade diet can be very beneficial in many cases, but food alone typically won’t suffice – owners need to include dietary supplements  to provide a balanced diet. Check with a veterinarian or nutritionist for help determining what is necessary.

Be sure to see your family veterinarian every year to ensure your pet doesn’t have any health issues that would make certain types of diets off limits.

The good news is that people are becoming increasingly aware of the role proper nutrition plays in their pet’s health, Wynn said. Those interested in learning more should consult with their family veterinarian or a nutritionist, she said.