East St. Louis is a ‘resource desert,’ with no veterinary clinics and few pet supply/grocery stores available to obtain pet food. Even if residents are financially able to care for their pets, there are few resources within the community they can rely on. The Gateway Pet Guardians Community Outreach Program strives to empower pet owners to keep pets in their homes and out of area shelters. To further support the Metro East Community, Gateway Pet Guardians and Bi-State Pet Food Pantry formed a life-saving partnership to bring pet food services to the Metro East.

The East St. Louis Monthly Distribution has grown tremendously since its inception in 2016. In 2017 alone, 11,129 pounds of dog food and 928 pounds of cat food were distributed to families in the Metro East. Each month, more families are added to the list as they become qualified to receive services. Recipients must provide proof of need and have their pets spayed or neutered before receiving services, so GPG works with community members to schedule and transport dogs to their surgeries to make them eligible. (Learn more about our Spay/Neuter Program!)

Jacqui Zancanata, President of Bi-State Pet Food Pantry, comments about the partnership. “We feed 200 families at our St. Louis location and knew there were several families not able to attend from the Metro East area due to transportation. We started working with GPG on how we could partner together to assist people in that area with food in addition to the resources they were already providing. It has been a wonderful partnership that has made a huge impact on the East St. Louis community!”

Providing resources to keep animals in their homes is the key to success for both organizations. This is a natural partnership between two agencies that serve much of the same population and also share some volunteers. Together, we can make the Metro East a happier, healthier place for people and their beloved pets alike.