ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg gentleman is producing positive fewer animals go hungry in Pinellas County with a roadside pet food stuff pantry in honor of his late pet dog.
Mark James said he shed his doggy, Hank, to spleen cancer a couple months ago. He knew he wanted to give back again in his pup’s honor, but he was not sure what to do.
“I was trying to figure out a way to honor him. And this had occur to my brain, due to the fact I had observed roadside food stuff pantries for people and I experienced witnessed these minimal libraries, these roadside libraries. I assumed you know, ‘maybe I could do a roadside pet food items pantry,’” he said.
He reported he handed on the strategy for awhile, pondering a roadside pet food stuff pantry experienced to be way too common. A number of months afterwards, he resolved to do some investigate and observed that wasn’t the circumstance.
James notes brick-and-mortar areas normally give out pet meals to those people in need, but reported they are often open perhaps 1 working day a 7 days for specific several hours.
“The issue is, people today that are in need to have cannot essentially present up during those people hrs. Then you have to give documentation to clearly show them you are essentially unemployed, you are on unemployment and you’re hunting for function,” he mentioned. “You know, a whole lot of people just do not have the wherewithal to do all that.”
James knows firsthand how pet house owners will place their furry cherished types to start with.
“My experience has shown that quite often folks that are on tough times, extra generally than not get much better care of their animals than they do on their own,” he mentioned.
Hanks Bark Box went up on the northwest corner of 65th Avenue and 3rd Avenue South in St. Petersburg in Oct. 2021.
It spread like wildfire on social media. James produced a Facebook webpage for the pet food items pantry and shared it with well-liked groups.
“So I mentioned, ‘if you know of everyone which is fallen on difficult periods and requires pet foods, here’s this box, help oneself, it’s open up 24/7, just quit by and get what you require,” he mentioned.
Folks began dropping off donations to the pantry, anything James said he by no means supposed to come about.
“I’m dumbfounded by the entire donation approach. When I did this, there was under no circumstances any intent in my thoughts to solicit donations, it’s possible I’m just dumb, but it under no circumstances transpired to me that men and women would donate. You know? I was just likely to fund this out of my own pocket and that’s what we were gonna do,” he stated.
He’s gained – and dispersed, not just cat and pet food items, but ferret and rabbit food as perfectly.
James stated had to purchase a cabinet for his garage for all the donated foodstuff he receives. He himself, of course, contributes.
“I invest in as a great deal as I can, when I can when I go to the keep. The donations have attained a point now where by most likely 50 p.c, maybe even a very little about 50 per cent of what I give absent is in donations.”
To day, James and Hanks Bark Box have distributed 1,731 lbs . of dry pet dog meals, 494 cans of pet dog food items, 868 kilos of dry cat food stuff, and 2,165 cans of cat foodstuff.
“When you seem at the sheer quantity of foodstuff we’ve specified out, it is just dumbfounding to me that this hasn’t been accomplished before,” James reported.
Many seeking to give have asked James if has a GoFundMe. While he does not, he has created an Amazon Would like Record of things required at Hanks Bark Box.