Pet pantry started in Alabaster

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

ALABASTER — Coronavirus isn’t the only thing that’s spreading—positive things are spreading too, fortunately for local communities. One such example is the Alabaster Community Pet Pantry, which accepts donations of pet food and in turn provides it to those in need.

When Karen Furlow found out about the Pelham Pet Pantry, she wanted to see something similar happen in Alabaster and other communities. Already the leader of Facebook group Alabama Pet Lovers Project, Furlow took the idea and ran with it.

“I had been looking for opportunities to help pet lovers,” Furlow said. “I spoke with my two Alabama Pet Lovers Project group moderators, Tonya Marsh and Beth Hammond, as well as my family, to get their thoughts. I told them that I was looking to start one in Alabaster and to create a movement throughout the state to have at least two pet pantries per county. They encouraged me to move forward with my plans.”

The idea is that no one should have to give up a pet because they cannot afford to purchase food for them. Furlow created the Facebook page on Feb. 11 and had planned to begin accepting donations and distributing by March 2.

“The need was greater than anticipated, so I began distributing on Feb. 22,” she said.

Inspired by Sheila Montgomery’s Pelham Pet Pantry, Furlow opened up four drop-off/donation locations in the Alabaster area—at her home, 129 Glen Abbey Lane, Starbucks in the Alabaster Promenade, Frios, and most recently, Chubbfathers.

Currently the pantry accepts donations of pet food but not monetary donations.

“Chubbfathers, as you know has the slogan, ‘Feed the People.’ I teamed up with them to add ‘Feed the Pets,’” Furlow said. “They also have a restaurant in Clanton, so I have a resident there that will facilitate the pantry in Chilton County. All of my supporting businesses are awesome!”

The Alabaster pantry has even compiled a wish list on Amazon.com to help make the community aware of its needs. Several individuals reportedly reached out and asked for a way to order and ship.

“With the current closings, it may be best to ship donations or drop them off at my home for the time being,” Furlow recommends.

While “Alabaster” is in the name, the group will not turn away anyone in need. Pick up is done at Furlow’s home; anyone in need is asked to either send her a Facebook message or call/text her at 205-568-7957.

“Life is full of ups and downs,” Furlow said. “With people being asked to stay home, people being laid off and businesses closing for an undetermined amount of time, money is tighter than ever. People are wondering how to stretch money to feed their families. Our pets are part of the family.”

The pantry has distributed 177 pounds of food in the last 13 days. Furlow may be reached either through the group’s Facebook page or via the above contact information. She also invites people to visit the Alabama Pet Lovers Project Facebook page.

“We all need a smile, especially these days,” Furlow said.