Thursday, April 2, 2015

A hero in our community!




Meet Wild Thing - she was visiting today to be screened for the high blood pressure screening study that we are participating in. Some of the cats her mom has brought in for screening have met certain pre-qualifications for the study and earn a $100 gift card, and we learned that Wild Thing's mom donates all of her gift cards to the Pet Pantry at Community Sharing Outreach Center, of which she recently became the manager. We think Wild Thing's mom, Marilyn, is a superhero, and we would like to celebrate her!

If you have not heard of the Community Sharing Outreach Center or the Pet Pantry, they are resources for low income families in Milford, Highland, Commerce Meadows and Stratford Villa in Wixom. Special needs families such as those with disabilities or the working poor can go to the center for food, clothing and other resources once per month.

The Pet Pantry, while part of the Community Sharing, is not covered by funds donated the Center, so Marilyn is in charge of raising funds to be donated directly to the Pet Pantry to help support its activity. The Pet Pantry provides food and supplies for the pets of people who are being helped by the shelter, so that people who have fallen on hard times do not have to give up their furry companions. Those who utilize the shelter are guaranteed to receive a month's supply of dry food, but any supply of canned food, cat litter or other supplies must come from donations made to the Pet Pantry - either monetary donations or donations of the items, themselves. Low cost vet care opportunities also can be arranged through the Pet Pantry. Marilyn tries to ensure that she has senior diets and allergy/grain free diets available and set aside for special-needs pets. She always has plenty of dog food available, but for some reason, rarely gets donations of cat food.

Marilyn loves her job, because she says while people can be very reserved when looking for help for themselves, when they come to her for help and advice about caring for their pets, they relax and talk about their pets, bring her pictures and share stories. She keeps a bulletin board behind her desk with all the photos of all the pets who have benefited from the Pet Pantry's program. She can tell how important the ability to keep and care for their cats and dogs is for people who may have lost nearly everything else - the elderly, families with children - it helps them feel as though there is some semblance of normalcy and comfort in what can sometimes seem like a very uncaring world.

On average, the Pet Pantry serves 188 dogs and 213 cats belonging to about 141 families.
This month, April 15th through the 18th, Community Sharing Outreach Center is hosting their semi-annual Garage Sale to raise money for the Center, and Marilyn will have a table to support the Pet Pantry as well. This is the largest garage sale in the county! If you have any clean, used pet beds, bowls, toys or other items that you wish to donate to be sold at the garage sale to raise money for the Pet Pantry, please contact Marilyn at mstepanek@mac.com or 248-889-0347. If you wish to make donations of volunteer time or food and litter for the Pantry, you may also use the above information to contact her for more information about how you can help. If you wish to make monetary donations, checks should be made out to the Pet Pantry, not Community Sharing Outreach Center.

For more information about the Garage Sale details, check out the Community Sharing Facebook page, or take a look at their calendar.

If you know of a Pet Champion in our community, we'd love to celebrate them, so please, tell us how they are a community hero so we can tell others about the great things they do!