Scout finds way to aid needy animals

Friday, December 28, 2012



Megan Mitchell, 10, a Girl Scout in Troop 23905 in Brookline, really likes animals.

When she was looking for a project to complete her Bronze Award, it seemed a natural fit to partner with the local Pet Pantry as a way to raise community awareness and to get pets the food and supplies they might need.

She didn’t know there was a pet pantry, and when she found out about it, she knew she wanted to help.

Goldie Bourassa, of Brookline, and founder of the Pet Pantry, was thrilled to hear that Megan wanted to support the effort.

The Pet Pantry, which started three years ago, is housed in the same building as the local Brookline food pantry, and families that have been screened are given free access to dry and wet food, supplies such as litter and bedding, and on occasion a few toys for their family pets.

“The economy is not good and people are having a hard time making ends meet, especially the elderly who often keep pets as companions. Our goal is to keep pets and families together,” Bourassa said. “We help some families on a regular basis, and sometimes we’ll get a family that’s having a hard week and needs pet food for that week only. We do what we can.”

To assist with the collection of donations, Megan has helped set up local collection boxes at Town Hall, libraries, both schools, and has coordinated efforts with the Brookline Animal Hospital.

She has already collected and delivered a large batch of donations to the Pet Pantry and made another delivery Dec. 14.

In the donations, Megan is finding items like dried dog cat food, canned food, kitty litter, Frontline flea and tick medication, and dog treats. All are needed and all appreciated.

Although the pantry focuses on the necessities for pet upkeep, it also has items such as toys, leashes, and pet beds to distribute to families who need them.

One of the places where Megan collects Pet Pantry donations is at the Brookline Animal Hospital, a veterinarian clinic that opened this past June.

“We have a giving tree with tags for animals. What accumulates under the tree will get donated to the pantry,” said Margaret Monachelle, a veterinarian at the Brookline Animal Hospital.

Judy Blanchette, veterinarian technician at the hospital, helped set up the tree.

“We were newly opened and wanted to do something for the town,” she said. “A giving tree seemed like the logical choice.”

On the tree are tags with suggestions of what to donate. People can either choose a tag or they can donate what they want, including food and supplies for cats and dogs, hamsters, gerbils and even birds. Donations do not need to be wrapped.

“This gives us a chance to keep pets safe and healthy all year long. It allows us a chance to do something extra,” Blanchette said.

The Pet Pantry is a year-round effort, and Bourassa is especially pleased with the abundance of donations and general awareness from the community as a direct result of Megan’s efforts.

“We’ve got a really good supply, and that’s important, because with the fluctuations of the economy, we have a lot of need. When it comes to providing for a family, pets are often at the bottom of the food chain. We’re trying to keep everyone together and provided for,” Bourassa said.

For more information, to make a donation or to volunteer, contact Bourassa at 320-0758.

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