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The need for Deeside Pet Food Bank has skyrocketed since it opened

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DEMAND for a pet food bank set up earlier this year has skyrocketed and it is now distributing around 300 meals a week as 2023 approaches.

After the pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of people who have to give up their beloved pets because they can no longer afford to care for them, especially due to the cost of living crisis.

That’s why Mel Oldfield, from Hawarden, created the PET (Pets Eat Today) food bank in August in the hope of preventing such situations from occurring.

But she could not have imagined that it would so quickly become the much-loved service it has become in the community.

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Based in an outhouse behind the White Bear pub in Mancot, the food bank has already become a success story in its four months of existence to date.

Mel, who works as a day intensive care nun, was further inspired to introduce the food bank to Deeside after she adopted her very own Labrador, Ronnie, last year.

Mel, who recently adopted her second Labrador, Ruby, says the demand is so great for the food bank now that they sometimes struggle to cope.

The leader:

PIC: The adorable Ronnie and Ruby.

She told the Leader“We seem to have gotten busier and busier, especially over the last month. We now have around 150 regular pets visiting us.

“Some people bring two or three pets with them and they take what they need. We worked on that the other day and we estimated that we’re giving out about 300 meals a week right now.

“We’ve been very lucky with donations, but we’re always looking for more. All of our stock can easily run out in a session or two, so sometimes it’s hard to keep up with demand.”

Mel added that demand for the food bank had increased as Christmas approached.

She said: “The cost of living crisis is just rumbling and people are struggling. Everything is going up in price, it’s ridiculous.

“We mostly have people coming in for dog and cat items, but sometimes we get people who want food for other animals like rabbits and fish. We’ve also given out blankets, harnesses and treats.”

Over Christmas, Mel and the PET team prepared packages for animals in need in the local community.

They even went to deliver these packages full of goodies to those who can’t get to their site to pick them up.

Mel said: “We have a fantastic team of volunteers here and I couldn’t get by without them. It’s a big task, especially on the administrative side, so I’m very grateful to each and every one of them for help them.

“We’re all doing our best to make sure we’re meeting demand.”

The leader:

PIC: Mel Oldfield (inset) and the current PET Food Bank executive behind the White Bear pub in Mancot.

Looking forward to 2023, Mel hopes PET Foodbank can continue to go from strength to strength.

She said: “We hope to move to larger premises and also support a larger catchment area as a result.

We also hope to register as a CIC (Community Interest Corporation) to help us secure additional funding.

And we are also planning to organize a few events, like a pet fashion show, to help us raise additional funds as well.

The PET Foodbank is open twice a week between 1 and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

To contact Mel and the PET team you can visit their Facebook page ‘PET Foodbank Deeside’ or via petfoodbankdeeside@gmail.com or 07944101264.

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