Ann Leach Celebrates 3 Years of Local Pet Pantry
June 6—In this weekly column, we ask five questions of a community member. Today we chat with Ann Leach, the co-founder of Snowflake’s Snack Shack.
1. What motivated you to start a free pet food pantry in the area?
Snowflake’s Snack Shack started after I counseled a homeless customer and his service dog. I asked about their eating habits, and the man said, “My dog eats when I do.” I offered to call the Joplin Humane Society and get him some food, but he commented that he couldn’t walk to the end and then be able to carry a big bag of dog food everywhere he went. . I said, “No, but I could get some food, put it in a big Ziploc bag, and you could pick it up here and put it in your backpack every week.
We did, and her dog loved coming to my office. I realized that “if there is one, there are many”, and the idea was born. That was three years ago this month.
2. Where is the pet pantry located and who can access it?
We serve at the Salvation Army Family Store the second Saturday of each month from 11am-1pm. Within the first month of service, Store Manager Mike Boykin and the team embraced the project and welcomed us, and I am very grateful. them to have done it.
Everyone can access the pantry. No proof of need is required. However, it was never designed to feed an animal for the whole month – just to help you feed it for a few days to get you through a tough time.
3. What types of items are available at the Pet Pantry?
We keep it simple: just dry food for cats and dogs. If you also want to give treats, we know our furry friends will love them.
4. How can people donate to the Pet Pantry?
I am so lucky to have a wonderful partnership with the Joplin Humane Society. They store food that people buy for the cause. If you are donating a bag of cat or dog food, we ask that you write “SSS” on the bag and drop it off at the Humane Society front desk. Just tell the staff that your bag is “for Snowflake” and they will put it on our shelf.
We always need cat and dog food. You can count on the fact that your donation will always be needed and appreciated by our region’s furry friends and their humans.
If people have any questions, they can message me through our Facebook group page, Snowflake’s Snack Shack at https://www.facebook.com/groups/428920474582588/.
5. Why is the Pet Pantry an important cause for you?
Seeing the love between my homeless client and his dog touched me a lot. We all deserve to have food available to us when we need it. Being adopted by Snowflake and her two children and watching them adapt and thrive through regular meals in my home has shown me the power of a simple act of caring. We can all do something for others. It doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in committee meetings for a year or having a lot of money. Just act and let it happen.
I am also looking for a volunteer manager to take charge of the monthly food bagging and assembly/disassembly tasks for the food distribution day. It’s the easiest volunteer project I’ve ever had and requires about four hours of service per month.
Visit Snowflake’s Snack Shack on Facebook for any updates.
Ann Leach is the co-founder of Snowflake’s Snack Shack, a free food pantry for cats and dogs in Joplin.