Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record
Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank volunteers (from left) Michelle Huelmann, Kathy Kelly, Andrea DeShaw and Marie Silberstein.

Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank volunteers (from left) Michelle Huelmann, Kathy Kelly, Andrea DeShaw and Marie Silberstein.

Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank feeds 300 cats and dogs each month

It’s a labor of love for Dorie Ross, president of the Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank, and her team, who provide nearly 2,300 pounds of pet food each month to nearly 300 cats and dogs of low-income pet owners across the Snoqualmie Valley.

The first Wednesday of every month, the food bank provides free pet food, litter, toys and other supplies out of a U-Haul truck parked in front of the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank in North Bend. Prior to the pandemic, the organization also worked with vets to provide free check-ups and vaccinations, something Ross said they are hoping to bring back soon.

“It feels so good because pets are so important in people’s lives,” Ross said. “Especially people that have to stay at home, whether it’s from the pandemic or just normal life, they have their dog or cat, that’s their best friend, and you want to take care of that.”

Although there is a large pet food bank in Tacoma, a pet food bank that is exclusively dedicated to pets and separate from a main food bank is something of a rarity.

“Inside the [regular] food bank, sometimes people will donate dog food but, from what I hear, to have a separate one is pretty rare,” Ross said. “There are a lot of people that didn’t realize they can get a free 33-pound bag of dog food.”

The food bank process begins the day before when Ross, Katie Podschwit and Andrea DeShaw pick up a U-Haul, usually around 11 a.m., and drive across the Eastside. They begin in North Bend and Snoqualmie, picking up donations from Pet Place Market and Love Bug, before heading for more donations at the Bellevue Humane Society, and in Sammamish, prior to returning around four p.m.

After the three women move all of the food into the truck, they spend eight hours the next day handing it out to residents. When Wednesday’s distribution is over, they try to have zero leftovers, and any remaining food is donated to local animal shelters.

Their zero-waste effort goes so far down that if there’s something damaged, “we have a farmer that comes and he takes everything for his pigs,” Ross said.

Currently, the group is working on securing a nonprofit status so it can benefit from employer donation matching, which Ross said would make a huge difference. They are also hoping to bring back their December stockings program this year, where they deliver a Christmas stocking filled with pet supplies to everyone who uses their food bank.

“People literally cry because they’re so excited,” Ross said. “Everyone wants their pets to have fun and be loved.”

To donate, volunteer or learn about how to receive pet supplies, visit svpetfoodbank.org.


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Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank volunteers provide free pet food to owners out of a U-Haul on Oct. 6. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record

Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank volunteers provide free pet food to owners out of a U-Haul on Oct. 6. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record

Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank donations on Oct. 6. Photo Conor Wilson/Valley Record

Snoqualmie Valley Pet Food Bank donations on Oct. 6. Photo Conor Wilson/Valley Record

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