New food pantry caters to pets
SUDBURY — Last month, Helaine Block was driving through the center of town when she saw some commotion at the Sudbury Community Food Bank.
With Block were her two rescue dogs, Henry, a Labrador-husky mix, and Rosita, a sato, otherwise known as a Puerto Rican street dog.
“I peered over one of the dogs and I saw an unusually long line snaking around the parking lot,” she said.
As Block thought about the struggling families dealing with the impact of the pandemic, she wondered how their four-legged friends were fairing.
“Some people are having a really hard time feeding themselves and feeding their children, then you think about what happens to the dogs,” she said.
Shortly after that day, Kobe Henro Pet Food Bank was born, a charity organization that provides dog and cat food to local food shelters.
The name of the nonprofit organization is a combination of names of all of Block’s four former and current dogs. Her first dog was named Koolie. Her second dog was named Belle and as mentioned earlier, her current dogs are named Henry and Rosita. Her husband Paul found the name amusing.
“Dog lovers are different people,” she said. “They are more my people.“
The organization collects expired food from the retailers and distributes them to the shelter. Block picks up the food, but her daughters are helping her manage her social media pages and website.
Block, 58, has partnered with a number of local retailers and has donated pet food to five local food shelters. To date, Block has donated more than 1,200 pounds of pet food, she said.
It costs a minimum of $212 annually to feed a small-sized dog for a year, $319 for a medium-sized dog, $400 for a large dog and $224 for a cat, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
She hopes to reach out to more retailers and food banks to help more struggling animals.
In a few weeks, she plans to participate in the Marlborough Loyal Companion’s Food Drive. Loyal Companion is a pet food store franchise.
Her love of dogs comes from her mom, who was a major animal lover, Block said, adding that there is something special about dog owners.
“I think it’s just kind of ingrained in who I am. My sisters, nieces and nephews, we all have dogs, so we’re just a dog family,” she said.
Her past three dogs are rescues from the Buddy Dog Humane Society Inc, an animal shelter on Boston Post Road.
Block has lived in Sudbury with her husband since 1993 and has volunteered with the animal shelter for almost 30 years.
For more information visit on the organization visit: kobehenro.org