ROXBURY, NJ – Pet owners dealing with financial strain due to the coronavirus can get some free dog food and cat food Friday without even leaving their cars.

A “Dog and Cat Food Drive-Thru” service will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Roxbury Department of Public Works (DPW) site on Dell Avenue in Kenvil. It will be open to residents of Roxbury and nearby towns, said officials.

Volunteers wearing protective gear will give donated pet food to people as they pull up in their cars.

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The idea came from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, said Roxbury Animal Control Officer Sue Blanchard.

“I was contacted three weeks ago by Becky Burton from St. Hubert’s in Madison,” she said. “Becky said a truck load of dog and cat food was donated by to give to area residents affected by COVID-19.”

Burton, who is vice-president of operations at St. Hubert’s, told Blanchard to talk to St. Hubert’s staffer Nora Parker about “picking up a couple pallets and doing a drive-up food pick-up,” Blanchard said.

Finding a Place

Getting free pet food is one thing. Distributing it safely in this time of social distancing is another.

Blanchard said her first move was to discuss with Roxbury Recreation Director Brett Douglas the possibility of using a parking lot at Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna for the food hand-out.

“I explained to him the idea,” she said. “Brett then approached (Roxbury) Township Manager John Shepherd for approval. John called me immediately and said that this was a great idea for our residents, and residents around the area, and Roxbury would be happy to be a distribution center.”

Blanchard said Shepherd and Roxbury DPW Director Rick Blood coordinated the pet food pickup from Madison last week.

“I then contacted Jessica Klinger, manager of Pet Goods in Ledgewood, to see if they had any extra food,” Blanchard said. “She is bringing pet food to donate on Friday and also will assist in handing out food.”

Blanchard pointed out that, while Roxbury is serving as the distribution site, the pet food drive-thru is “a collaborative effort” with other area animal control officers, who will be helping to hand out food, including Denvile ACO Meredith Petrillo and Randolph ACOs Eric Barkman, Sunny Nowell and Christina Campanello.

Those requesting free dog food and cat food are asked to drive up to the pick-up site and stay in their vehicles.

“We will ask you what you need, and we will put it in your car,” she said, noting that all the volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves. Once people get the food, they should depart the site, she said.

Those who have pet food to donate are asked to contact Blanchard at 973-584-4372 and schedule a pickup. 

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