In just the first two short months of 2021, the Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry has helped provide food for 4,000 pets in homes of 964 families! This is a staggering statistic when you think about the 14,500+ pounds of dry food prepared by volunteers who put in hundreds of hours to accomplish such a great feat. Many people may not be aware there is such a great need for this in our community.

It is a desperate time for many families (with pets or not), but when most people add pet food to their shopping list, in comparison to other items, it is relatively cheap to buy a bag that keeps their beloved furry or feathered family member with a full stomach. But even though some may consider pet food affordable, for many it is not. The need is so great and far reaching, a line of cars forms sometimes twice a week at their Waynedale location at 2502 Church St. and on regular distribution dates in Downtown Fort Wayne, Roanoke and New Haven.

Rochele Watson, Executive Director of The Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry says that their mission is simple, “We offer free pet food for those in need to: 1. Reduce the number of animals that are taken to the shelter. 2. Reduce the number of animals that are euthanized due to overcrowded shelters. 3. Preserve the loving relationship that pet owners share with their pets. 4. Relieve people of the emotional stress of not being able to provide for their pets.”

When the Pantry was founded in 2010, economic reasons made up 25% of the pet surrenders to local shelters, by 2020, less than 2% were surrendered because the owner couldn’t buy food. An impressive 76,517 pounds of food was distributed last year. If you’re doing the math in your head this means that in just two months, they are on track to distribute more than double that amount this year.

So, how can you help them serve every family in need? Well, it just so happens that this weekend, The Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry is holding an online “Paw-ction” Fri.- Sun. March 12-14. Twenty locally donated items and gift certificates, from Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, to Sweets So Geek, to Pet Wants Fort Wayne, and a bunch of unique gifts in-between will be on the virtual auction block. You can check out the fundraiser by searching for the event on Facebook or by visiting

If the Paw-ction is not your style, Watson says that they are always looking for kind people to lend a hand as a volunteer. And they have listed on their website ( ) all of the drop-off locations for pet food donations as well as the ways to make a one time, monthly, or weekly financial contribution. They are also registered on Kroger Rewards and Amazon Smile, which donates a small percentage of each purchase you make to the non-profit, at no cost to you.

“With your generosity, we can continue to support our growing client base, still struggling to feed their pets, as the economy remains uncertain, but dedication to their pets remains unwavering. Thank you for your support.” Watson said.

“Keeping Pets at Home with Their Families” The Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry (a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity organization) provides pet food at no cost to pet owners who are struggling financially and cannot afford to feed their pets. If you are in need of help or would like to learn more about this organization, you can call them at (260) 478-4551, search for them on Facebook or visit their website at

Alex Cornwell

Alex Cornwell

The Owner & Publisher of The Waynedale News. Alex is a community leader and founder of various organizations, events & improvement initiatives in the area. He is also the recipient of 2019's Allen County Vandeveer Impact Award and 2012's University of Saint Francis' Distinguished Young Alumni Award. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer