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Local collaboration aims to feed hungry people, pets

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A new partnership between the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Pet Pantry and Lunch Break, Red Bank, has launched with the goal of easing the burden of food scarcity during the COVID-19 crisis.

Lunch Break’s Pantry Choice Program, which has distributed approximately 300 grab-and-go meals since March, continues to show a large increase in demand, according to a press release from the MCSPCA, which said the incorporation of pet food and supplies into the program was a seamless addition.

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The MCSPCA’s Pet Pantry was established after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and has become a critical program of the MCSPCA, serving hundreds of residents and distributing thousands of pounds of pet food each year to those in need, according to the press release.

The merging of the two programs will create a “one stop shop” for families and their pets, the organization’s executive director said.

“If someone is coming to the MCSPCA because they are having a problem feeding their pet, it’s a good bet they are also having a problem feeding themselves or their family,” MCSPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra said.

Lunch Break Executive Director Gwendolyn Love said, “We see firsthand the hardship people experience even in supposedly a good economy to afford their basic need of food. When a crisis such as the COVID-19 virus touches so many more people by a loss of jobs and hours cut, the impact is even greater and our most vulnerable individuals and family pets can be at risk.”

Donations of pet food will continue on an ongoing relationship and will ensure that every family in need can provide for themselves and their pets, according to the press release.

The MCSPCA will continue to deliver pet food weekly as Lunch Break offers its services six days per week to the public, according to the press release.

To reach the MCSPCA, which is based in Eatontown, call 732-542-0040.

To learn more or to support Lunch Break, visit https://lunchbreak.org/our-programs/

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