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2 Carroll County nonprofits join to deliver pet food as families face difficulties during coronavirus

James Stephan, left, of Westminster stops by for a hot meal as Amanda Nipper of Finksburg and Katie Kirby, right, along with others from Together We Own It distribute food for families and individuals in need in Westminster on March 24.
James Stephan, left, of Westminster stops by for a hot meal as Amanda Nipper of Finksburg and Katie Kirby, right, along with others from Together We Own It distribute food for families and individuals in need in Westminster on March 24. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Two Carroll County nonprofits joined forces to provide families food and supplies for their furry family members during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Together We Own It, a Westminster-based nonprofit that serves local children and families, teamed up with Hampstead-based MCQE Mobile Pet Pantry, a nonprofit that donates supplies and food for animals, to distribute food to families and their pets.

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Kirby said Together We Own It is distributing about 850 meals a week. Together We Own It partnered with MCQE to deliver pet food, and Together We Own It announced March 18 that they had delivered 350 pounds of pet food to local families.

“The mobile food pantry reached out to us and said that they had a lot of people reaching out about getting food for their animals and didn’t really have a good way to deliver it with so many things that were being shut down,” said Katelyn Kirby, director of Together We Own It.

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The coronavirus also known as COVID-19, the disease it causes, has forced much of the population to spend most of their time at home and has sparked financial difficulties for many.

Michele Szper, founder of MCQE, said she saw Together We Own It on Facebook and decided to team up to do their last mobile pet food distribution. No more mobile deliveries are planned at this time, so for now, if residents want supplies from MCQE, they have to coordinate picking it up.

“We are not delivering, and we’re not doing any mobile pet food pantries at this time,” Szper said. “However, we have an appointment book set up; people can contact us through our pet pantry number or email or Facebook.”

The pet pantry’s Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/mcqe.mobile.pet.pantry, its number is 443-507-6849 and its email is mcqe.pet.pantry@gmail.com.

Even though Together We Own It is still helping the same people they always have, they say, they have noticed a need for additional services increased.

To assess supplies people needed, Together We Own It put a request form on its website, www.togetherweownit.org, for people to fill out.

“I would say 50 or 60 percent of people said that one of their needs was pet food, so we contacted them [MCQE], we were like ‘This is a great match.’ They came out and set up our first night of doing food and delivered pretty much everything they had,” Kirby said.

According to Spzer, they distributed all kinds of pet food, for cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs. They also gave out toys and treats as well.

Spzer is also providing flea and tick medication while supplies last.

The main priority for Together We Own It is now supplies for children.

“We have so many unfulfilled requests for diapers, formula, toilet paper, baby wipes — it’s, that’s kind of our main focus right now,” said Angel Hill, director of youth development for Together We Own It. “We definitely, we understand that people love their pets and they need to feed their their animals, but our main focus is on getting those things. We have tons of canned food and they’re welcome to share that with their pets, but as far as the needs for our kids, it is dire, so that’s been our main focus right now.”

Together We Own It hasn’t gotten many requests for pet food since the last pet food delivery, but when they do get a request they always add, for example, some cans of tuna if someone has a cat.

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Together We Own It is happy to help those who need it most during hard times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So I’m just really excited to be out in this community and born and raised here,” Kirby said. “Excited to be giving back and just grateful for the community to be standing beside us and making this possible.”

MCQE also has an Amazon Wishlist link on its website, mcqemobilepetpantry.com, so people can buy things to donate to the pantry and help others.

People in need of pet food can also reach out to the Humane Society of Carroll County.

According to Karen Baker, executive director of the Humane Society, they have cat food and dog food to spare, though it’s only a limited supply because they have sent a lot of their supplies to fosters. The only supply they have in stock is cat litter.

To pick up food, patrons must call ahead and will receive curbside service.

The Humane Society can be reached at 410-848-4810 and is located at 2517 Littlestown Pike in Westminster.

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