ROXBURY, NJ – A drive-thru handout of pet food that took place April 17 was a big success, said Roxbury Animal Control Officer Sue Blanchard.

The event - where donated dog food and cat food was doled out to pet owners experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic - came just in time for some people, Blanchard said.

“There is such a need,” she said. “People were so thankful. One resident was in tears because they got a call - while in line - that they lost their job because the business is closing.”

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The drive-thru was set up at the Roxbury Department of Public Works (DPW) site in Kenvil. Volunteers handed out food, and other pet necessities, donated by GreaterGood.org, Pet Goods of Roxbury, WDHA and many generous residents.

Recipients stayed in their vehicles as they were given the supplies, a system that “went fantastic” according to Blanchard.

“We started with seven pallets of dog food, cat food and cat litter,” she said. “We only have one and a half pallets left, but this will be gone after Monday because I have over 20 people who contacted me because they missed it Friday.”

Blanchard said residents of local municipalities should not hesitate to contact their local animal control officers if they can't afford food for pets during the coronavirus crisis. “We will help as much as possible,” she said. “We want pet owners to know that all their town animal control officers are here to help them.”

She thanked the organizations, companies and people who donated the food as well as St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison for suggesting the drive-thru.

“A special thank you to my township manager, John Shepherd, DPW Director Rick Blood and his guys for helping and making this happen,” Blanchard added. “Thank you to Bob Hackett, director of the Roxbury Office of Emergency Management and to the Roxbury OEM CERT Team - for volunteering at our event - and to Jim Kennedy, Steve Adell, Parish Trividi, Anthony Terranova and Tracey Neidel. Awesome  job.”

Blanchard also thanked her friends and colleagues from surrounding towns, including Denville Animal Control Officer Meredith Petrillo, Randolph Animal Control Officer Erica Barkman, Pet Goods Manager Jessica Klinger, veterinarian Alli Sommerkorn and Denville Police Officer Max Becker. She noted it took just one phone call and they agreed to participate and “make it a regional distribution.”

Blanchard said people in need of pet food can also visit the food bank operated Monday through Wednesday by St. Hubert’s in Madison.

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