GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Nearly five years ago, animal lover Rachel Jensen noticed a void in the Grand Rapids area.
“I worked at the animal shelter at the time and saw a need in the community that wasn’t being met: So many people have to give their pets up because they can’t afford them,” Jensen told Fox 17.
So she and a couple of friends got together in the basement of a dog training business and started what has grown to become “Pleasant Hearts Pet Food Pantry.”
Started in December of 2016, Pleasant Hearts Pet Food Pantry is tucked away on the northeast side of Grand Rapids, in a warehouse packed with virtually anything you might need to keep your pet happy and healthy.
As Jensen told Fox 17, it has grown by the year.
“We started off with just food and some basic pet supplies, we offer food and supplies like leashes, harnesses, toys, things like that, to beds and flea and tick prevention, and all of that is free of charge to our clients," Jensen said.
The pantry also helps with vaccines, microchips and spay and neutering expenses, Jensen explains.
“We also have started in the last six months or so partnering with C-Snip because we made it mandatory that all of our clients have their pets spayed or neutered, but we didn’t want to do that until we felt we could help out financially.”
Nearly everything is donation based, either by cash or by drop-off either at the warehouse or in one of their drop-boxes around the city of Grand Rapids. Jensen explains that they will put virtually anything to good use.
“We’ll take anything gently used like dog beds, collars, leashes, all of that kind of stuff," Jensen said. "We get that all the time. And I think that it makes people feel good that items from their pet that’s now gone is going to good use. You have some things that maybe make you sad to have around, you have some food that your next pet or other pets can’t use, or if your pet is a picky eater and don’t want what they have, we’ll take it.” Jensen adds that they feed between 50-70 dogs and 50-70 cats every other weekend thanks to their organization.
An already valuable commodity to west Michigan became that much more valuable one year ago, Jensen told Fox 17.
“As soon as Covid hit and people weren’t able to work, we noticed a huge difference where we actually added two extra days a month. Instead of doing two distributions, we did four distributions a month for a couple months. If we can help you by saving $30-$40 dollars on your food and you can spend that on your medical bills or food to feed your family, were here for that.”
Pleasant Hearts Pet Food Pantry holds distributions on two Saturdays each month at their warehouse at 1539 Taylor Avenue North #5 in Grand Rapids, from 12-2 p.m.
Their next distribution day is Saturday, May 15 and they also hosting a microchip clinic the following day.
They also offer delivery to people unable to come out for any health related reason.
To learn more about them, including where to donate, go to pleasantheartspetfoodpantry.org.
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