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Special Needs Group Links Up With White Plains Pet Food Pantry

Kat Klein (left) hands Jared Roman (right) a bag of pet food to donate to the Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
SPARC Inc. members gather at the Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry to donate food they collected throughout February. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry welcomed a donation Tuesday from Jared Roman and SPARC Inc.’s Link Up program, which helps to keep people with developmental disabilities active after they age out of the school system.

Roman, of Yonkers, is one of nine high-functioning young adults in the Link Up program . It is a day program that meets from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays to do group activities around the community. He said he has never had a pet but had the idea to collect pet food because he wants to help the White Plains-based pet food pantry feed as many animals as possible.

“It’s really helpful for everybody,” Roman said. “I really hope we have enough to help a lot of animals.”

Throughout February, members of the Link Up program collected pet food at the PACE Lubin Graduate Center in White Plains, where they meet each week. Link Up services Westchester residents and includes members from White Plains, Bronxville, Pleasantville and Dobbs Ferry.

The Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry moved to Ridgeview Congregational Church at 12 Ridgeview Ave. in August after outgrowing the American Legion Hall in Valhalla, said Susan Katz, founder of the group. Since the move, it has increased the number of families it serves in Westchseter, Putnam and Dutchess counties from 165 to 215, said Kathy Ferris, pantry director.

"We depend on donations," said Ferris, who added the volunteer group has gone from a part-time to full-time commitment. "The need is just growing."

The pantry supplies pet food through pickups and home deliveries to those who are homebound. Pickups are held on the first and third Saturday of the month. Another pickup is held the last Tuesday of the month at the Thomas H. Slater Center on 2 Fisher Court.

Applicants provide a list of the foods their pet eats, which volunteers use at food drives. The pantry also fills prescription food requirements for special needs animals, Katz said.

To donate to the 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization or to become a member, call 914-907-3487.

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