Story and Photo by Alice Gerard
Senior Contributing Writer
If you need food for your dog or cat, or if you’d like to donate pet food, the place to go is Pete and Skip’s pet food pantry, operating monthly at St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, 2587 Baseline Road.
Sue Foley, one of the organizers of the pet food pantry, said, “We started it at our old church, Grace Episcopal Church in Lockport, and it was pretty successful. It’s not meant to replace food. It’s just a supplement. We give a bag, like a gallon-size bag of dog food. If we have treats available, we also give a bag of treats. The same with cat food. We do typically have more dog owners than cats, but we definitely do both.
“When the church closed two years ago, we got in contact with another church in the neighborhood (not Episcopalian), and they were shadowing so they could take it over.”
A few months ago, Foley said, a new pet food pantry was opened at St. Martin’s.
Foley said she is looking forward to seeing more people coming to the St. Martin’s pantry, once word gets out about it: “It’s the second Sunday of every month, from 9:15 to 10 a.m. We’re just doing it in between services, so it doesn’t interrupt the 8 o’clock, and it doesn’t interrupt the 10 o'clock service. It was always on a Sunday at our old church, also between services.
“I think maybe the problem with Grand Island is that it’s so spread out. We were in a walkable neighborhood before. It was a very poor neighborhood. A lot of rental property, probably a lot of transient people. They didn’t stay. If people don’t have food for their pet, they will go without in order to feed their pet. For some people, their dog or their cat is all they have.”
“The reason for the name is because Pete was instrumental in getting it started for us, and Skip was a huge donor,” Foley said.
Pete Dempsey-Sims, a deacon in the Episcopal Church, started a pantry in a Buffalo church in 2011.
“She also helped out at Grace Church,” Foley said.
Skip Moss, who lived in Florida until his death on Jan. 30, “came up regularly, and he had some connections with a supplier in Florida. There are times we would get pallets of food delivered. We only had to pay for the delivery. Sometimes, we didn’t even have to pay for the delivery.”
“Everything is donation based,” Foley explained.