Kountry K-9 Helping Pawz Pet Pantry is a newly formed non-profit organization open to providing food and supplies for cats and dogs in need in Jackson County.

Kristie Carr, owner of Kountry K-9 Groom & Board in Fairplain and Kountry K-9 II, Kritter Kutz, Groom & Board in Ravenswood, has taken her love for pets a step further and opened the Helping Pawz Pet Pantry.

Operating out of both of her locations, Carr said the mission of the pantry is to help families and seniors feed their pets.

“Everyone hits hard times and our pets should not have to suffer nor should owners go without eating or paying bills in order to feed their pets,” Carr said.

The organization was established with money from Carr’s own pocket because she felt the need to do something to reach out to owners that needed the extra help feeding their cats and dogs.

Helping Pawz Pet Pantry is strictly donation based at this time, but eventually Carr said she would like to apply for grant funds through the Department of Agriculture

“My long term goal with the pantry is to also be able to help individuals with the cost of spay/neuter and the cost of grooming through fundraisers,” Carr said.

Donations of cat and dog food can be dropped off at either location and although she prefers the healthiest food options, she said no donation will be turned away.

Pet supplies such as leashes, collars, and harnesses are also accepted as well as kitty litter and puppy training pads. Stuffed animals are taken as long as they are not stuffed with beans or beads.

The pet pantry does not go by income guidelines on who can or cannot receive help. It is open to anyone who has a pet with a need.

“I do keep a log as to who needs the food, what they need, and how many pets they have,” Carr said. “It’s not for anybody, it’s just for me to keep track of for my records.”

Carr said the log would enable her to reach out to someone who may come in regularly, and then not show up for a while. If that were to happen, at that point she could call to find out if the need was still there.

Since the recent opening of the pet pantry, Carr has served seven families. The most recent being families that lost everything in an apartment fire. Carr said the manager of the complex that took the families in, reached out to her for assistance.

“She reached out to us and told us what they had, we took them a whole bunch of stuff,” Carr said. “They were very thankful.”

Carr encourages donations but also welcomes volunteers who would be willing to give their time to help bag food and prepare items for the pantry.

Delivery and pick up services are also available to anyone who wishes to make a donation or needs pet supplies and is unable to travel to either location to pick up what they need.

“I’m not wanting recognition, I’m just wanting everybody to know that we’re here and we’re here to help. That’s my goal,” Carr said. “All they have to do is reach out.”

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, the Helping Pawz Pet Pantry located at 914 Washington, Street in Ravenswood will be hosting a free dog wash to raise money for the pantry. The free wash will include a bath and dry only, any additional services such as nail trimming will be provided for a cost. The pet pantry will be accepting both monetary and dog/cat food/supply donations during the fundraiser.

For more information on donating, volunteering, or needing supplies, contact Kristie Carr at 304-532-8994, e-mail Helpingpawzpetpantry@gmail.com, or visit them on Facebook under Kountry K9 Helping Pawz Pet Pantry.