My Best Friend’s Bowl

One of the things that makes Cleveland such a dog friendly city is how well the community comes together to support pets in need. There are so many great organizations focused on caring for forgotten and struggling animals. One such group you may not know about is My Best Friend’s Bowl, a nonprofit pet food bank based out of Lakewood. The all-volunteer organization, which is part of the Lakewood Foundation, helps pet owners that are struggling financially keep their pets by providing them with pet food.

To learn more about this organization and how they work in our community, read on for my Q&A with Judy Towner, Director of My Best Friend’s Bowl.

Tell us about how My Best Friend’s Bowl started. How long have you been around?

I began working as a volunteer at the Lakewood Community Services Center (LCSC), a food bank, in October 2010. In January 2011, a client asked me if we had any dog food. That was not a typical request but I remembered seeing a lone bag way back in the warehouse. I brought it to her and she almost cried. She told me she had been feeding her dog rice. The light bulb went off in my head. I started by shopping for sales, using coupons etc.  I began to put out feelers in the community and was excited to find that people wanted to help. Bags of food began showing up at the center, animal related groups began inviting me to their events and meetings to spread the word.

How do you find the families that need your services?

We will get food to anyone in need. We have a Facebook page and a website so when people Google pet food bank, we show up and I get calls from them. I also have referrals from other pet-related organizations like PAWS. If the clients can’t get to Lakewood at the center to pick up (I have to leave food marked for them at the center, they can’t just come in and ask for pet food) and if they are close to Lakewood and can’t get here I usually drop off. If they are farther away, I have Pet Supplies Plus gift cards that I can mail to them.

 

How has the need for your services been this year?

Since food stamps have been cut back recently, I’ve seen more people coming into LCSC that have not been there in a few months or more. They had been doing alright with the food stamps they were receiving but with the cuts, find the need for additional help. This of course adds to the number of people that need pet food so our usage has grown.

What can people do if they want to donate or help out MBFB?

We will be having our 3rd Annual Super Bowl Sunday Pet Food Drive in 2014 with the help of Ganley Subaru in North Olmsted with Laurie Sekeres. We have our dog and cat key chains with tiny dog and cat related charms (I made over 100 of them) for sale $6 each at Style Mutt, 3525 Warren Rd,. Cleveland. There are photos on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/mybestfriendsbowl

To find out more ways you can help, visit: http://mybestfriendsbowllakewood.com/bowl/category/about_us/how_can-i/how-can/donate_paypal/

Want to donate food? Check out the web site for drop off locations.