Pet food pantry feeding Valley dogs

September 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Struggling pet owners now have a place to get help with feeding their pets. Halo Café is Fresno's only pet food pantry, it's an official non-profit and it's filling a major need.

Full tummies' is the motto of Halo Café and thanks to the group's generosity some local pups are on the way there. The bags of food owner Janice is serving them are donations. The food is nourishment the dogs may not get, had Janice avoided asking for help.

"We're all living on a budget, everybody lives week to week, it's very overwhelming," Janice said. "These people are here to help us, and help all these animals."

Janice and her friend, Debbie, were first in line for Monday's food pantry giveaway. "We even have a couple of dogs that don't have teeth and so they give us the soft food," Debbie said. "They're very thoughtful, very kind people."

They're not alone. A long line, with dozens of financially struggling pet lovers, turns to Halo Café. Founder and president, Jennifer Quinn-Yovino, says the work is bitter-sweet.

"It's bitter because I know that they're struggling," she said. "But, it's sweet because I know we can help. And I'm just so happy to see them. I can't tell you the joy it brings me to see all those faces lined up, that they knew where to go and they love their pets enough to ask for help, because sometimes that can be hard."

Quinn-Yovino started Halo Café nearly two years ago with her husband, and Superintendent of Fresno County Schools, Jim Yovino. They wanted to help another group doing the same thing but the nearest one is in Bakersfield.

Now, twice a month food is given out in northwest Fresno, but with limits. Pets have to be spayed, neutered and vaccinated. And owners can only receive help six times a year.

"We dream to that someday the economy will turn around and all animals will have a home and we'll be out of business," Quinn-Yovino. "That's the dream."

Click the 'See it on TV' tab for more information on Halo Café.

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